The City of Austin is seeking public feedback on proposed policies that could potentially provide those with criminal histories a better chance to get a job.
Proposals include requiring private-sector employers to remove the criminal history question on job applications, known as “Ban the Box,” or “Fair Chance,” and delaying background checks until after the initial stages in the hiring process when feasible. Studies have shown that these types of polices provide a better opportunity for people with criminal records to access employment which leads to reduced recidivism, strengthens families, and leads to safer communities.
The Austin City Council passed a resolution in May 2015, initiated by Casar, directing City staff to develop language for potential “Fair Chance” policies to promote delaying inquiry into conviction history by private employers.
The public can provide input at SpeakUpAustin.org , by texting 512-643-JOBS (5627), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Text the word “hiring.” Input will be taken through August. City staff is expected to present policy options and a report to the City Council’s Economic Opportunity Committee in September.
Click here to learn more.
Since February 2009, Travis County has participated in an ongoing justice reinvestment project, initially collaborating with the Urban Institute. The Urban Institute merged their justice reinvestment efforts with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) to better reflect the initiative’s national scope. In FY12, Justice Planning (JP) submitted an application for JRI grant funding to pay for permanent supportive housing and ancillary support services for two years for 22 chronically homeless mentally ill, frequent users of the Travis County jail.
In 2014, JP continued work on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative housing and case management pilot program. The JRI pilot provides permanent supportive housing, intensive case management, and ancillary support services, such as medication management and substance abuse treatment, to twenty-two chronically homeless frequent users of the Travis County Jail.
Click here to read the key recommendations from the final report on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative Supportive Housing Pilot evaluation in Travis County.