As the bipartisan movement for criminal-justice reform continues to move forward in the states and at the federal level, it’s time to reconsider government-imposed barriers to economic opportunity, such as occupational licensing, mandatory background and biometric checks, and other restrictions on the ability of ex-offenders to find financial stability and meaningful work.
In that vein, R Street will host an April 17 event to announce a new ideologically diverse coalition to highlight the issue of “Justice for Work.” To be held 6 p.m., April 17 at the Stanton & Greene loft (319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE), the launch will be occasioned by an expert panel that includes ex-offenders, former law-enforcement officers, and policy and legal experts. It will be followed by an open-bar social mixer.
We are joined in this new coalition by the American Civil Liberties Union, Right on Crime, Impact Justice, Tech Freedom, FreedomWorks, Americans for Tax Reform and the American Conservative Union Foundation. Together, these members agree that prescriptive mandates may serve a purpose where there is a demonstrated public safety risk that cannot effectively be addressed otherwise. But in areas where access to work is denied solely to signal the empty political slogan of being “tough on crime,” the Justice for Work coalition seeks to make meaningful change.