Skip to main content
News

America’s criminal justice disgrace: How Apple’s ban of former felons reveals the long road to real reform

April 15, 2015
The Sentencing Project's Director of Advocacy Nicole Porter recently spoke with Salon about employment for people with criminal records, criminal justice issues as civil rights issues, and what is necessary to take to tackle mass incarceration in the United States.

The Sentencing Project’s Director of Advocacy Nicole Porter recently spoke with Salon about employment for people with criminal records, criminal justice issues as civil rights issues, and what is necessary to take to tackle mass incarceration in the United States.

When you see stories like the recent one involving Apple and construction workers — stories about people who’ve been convicted being barred from employment or other services — what does it bring to mind most immediately? 

My sense is that things are complicated in terms of the causes that lead to policies and practices from employers and other officials trying to limit or control access to certain efforts, in this case employment. Specifically with regards to employment, there are too many people competing for jobs and there aren’t enough jobs available to the large number of people seeking employment. My sense that the underlying problems driving that over time is that people posting job openings and managing the number of applicants are trying to limit the applicants they receive. One way to do that, given the stigma associated with prior convictions, is to have automatic bans or exclusions for people with prior felony convictions. That’s one problem driving this issue.

In addition to that, there’s obviously the problem of mass incarceration — not just people who are incarcerated but the large number of people who have been subjected to criminal justice enforcement and who have obtained criminal records. Given the change in criminalization policies over the last 30 to 40 years, criminal records can marginalize and isolate people from job opportunities and other areas of civic life automatically, without any regards to the individual’s circumstances that may have brought them into contact with the criminal justice system to begin with. Because of these automatic bans in employment and in other areas of civic life — housing bans in the private and public markets, public benefit bans federally and in states — the large number of people brought under criminal justice supervision can be automatically excluded without any individualized conversation.

 

Read the full interview on Salon.

 
Related Posts
publications
June 14, 2016

The Color of Justice 2016 Report

African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states. This report documents the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
publications
October 07, 2021

Sign-on Letter: Pass the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021

Justice organizations urge the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia to pass Bill 4-0338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021 as a necessary, common sense approach to juvenile justice reform that will create better outcomes for youth and communities, will treat children as children, and will make significant steps forward in advancing racial equity.