Sealing Old New York Convictions (2018)

This booklet discusses New York State’s 2017 law (CPL § 160.59) that allows people to seal up to two criminal convictions that are at least ten years old. It also discusses additional eligibility requirements and how to apply for this sealing.

How to Gather Evidence of Rehabilitation (2016)

How can you show employers, landlords, and others that your criminal record does not define who you are today?  This pamphlet provides detailed tips for gathering proof of your rehabilitation – positive changes you have made since your convictions.

Roadmap for Promoting Health and Justice: A Smarter, More Effective Criminal Justice System (2016)

This landmark 2016 report from LAC’s Arthur Liman Policy Institute provides a comprehensive and detailed set of recommendations for improving our national drug and alcohol policies to improve health and public safety and save lives and resources.

Criminal Records and Employment: Protecting yourself from discrimination (Updated 2019)

This booklet explains what New York employers may and may not ask about your criminal record and how you should describe your record. NYC Fair Chance Act and other “ban-the-box” laws are covered as well in this update. It also covers your right to be free of discrimination in the workplace.

Are you Somebody with HIV/AIDS? An Alcohol or Drug Addiction? A Criminal Record? (Updated 2017)

This booklet is for New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS, a substance use disorder, and/or a criminal record who want to know their rights to be free of discrimination. It explains: laws that forbid discrimination; limits on what employers, landlords, and others may ask; how to get a job or housing despite the stigma of HIV, addiction, or a criminal record; and what to do when there is illegal discrimination.

Closing the Skills Gap & Opening More Doors

A new report that breaks new ground by combining labor market forecasts for New York City and New York State with information about barriers to employment for individuals with criminal records.

Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring (2013)

This guidebook is for employers who want to make smart hiring decisions about individuals with criminal records while complying with the law. Millions of workers with prior convictions have turned their lives around and become productive members of society. Employers who follow this guidebook’s concrete, practical recommendations will be able to make hiring decisions that make business sense, are fair, and comply with federal guidance, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and state and local anti-discrimination laws. The guidebook also offers practice suggestions for complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and for minimizing the risk of liability from hiring an unfit employee.

Housing Laws Affecting Individuals with Criminal Convictions (Published 2000)

Summary of the federal laws concerning the admission and eviction of people with criminal histories into federally assisted housing.

After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry

This report and interactive map provide a thorough analysis and grade report of state laws and policies that serve as legal barriers to reentry.

National H.I.R.E. Network

For additional resources related to employment and criminal record barriers, please visit Legal Action Center’s National H.I.R.E. Network website.

Moving Forward with a Criminal Record in New York State (2016)

This webinar series can help New Yorkers with criminal records overcome barriers to jobs and housing.  It is designed for people who have been through the criminal justice system as well as their service providers.  The series contains four webinars, ranging from 13 to17 minutes each.  Topics are “Criminal Records,” “Employment,” “Housing,” and “Evidence of Rehabilitation.”

Helping Justice-Involved Individuals with Substance Use & Mental Health Disorders: Understanding How Laws, Regulations, & Policies Affect their Opportunities (2016-2018)

The webinar series, Helping Justice-Involved Individuals with Substance Use & Mental Health Disorders: Understanding How Laws, Regulations, & Policies Affect their Opportunities was sponsored by SAMHSA to provide an overview of federal and state laws in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Missouri, Oregon, Ohio, Utah, California, Illinois, Georgia, Colorado, Rhode Island, and Kansas that make it difficult for people with criminal records and substance use disorders to obtain employment, housing and education.

Legal Rights of People with Criminal Conviction Histories (2009)

This webinar explores the rights that people with criminal records have under federal law to gain access to employment, housing and government benefits.  It also covers some of the barriers people face.

Your Rights, Your Future: Preparing for Reentry (2010)

This 29 minute-long video helps people leaving prison get the skills and knowledge they will need to find jobs and prepare for the challenges of re-entry.

Overcoming Employment Barriers for People with Criminal Records (2018)

A combination of factors including laws, stigma, and fear of liability make it extremely challenging for individuals with criminal records to find employment. This training explains how New Yorkers with criminal records can improve their chances of finding employment despite the barriers a criminal record might pose.

Model Letter Asking for Written Explanation for Job Denial and Copy of the Background Check

Do you think you were denied a job in New York because of your criminal record?  Has the employer given you a reason in writing?  New York’s Correction Law, Section 754, requires employers who deny a job to someone with a criminal conviction to give a written explanation for the denial, but only if the applicant asks for it.  The explanation must come within 30 days of the request.  Under laws governing background screening, the employer also must give a copy of any background check. You can use this model letter to ask your prospective employers why you were denied a job.  You can also use it to ask for a copy of a background check. Replace the highlighted words with your own information. For more information, see “Criminal Records and Employment.”

Advocacy Toolkit: Prohibit Inquiries about Arrests that Never Led to Conviction

This toolkit helps those advocating for legislation to prohibit any inquiries about, consideration, and use of information about arrests that did not lead to conviction by employers, housing authorities and other non-law enforcement agencies.

Advocacy Toolkit: Standards for Hiring People with Criminal Records

This toolkit helps those advocating for legislation that prohibits across-the-board employment bans based on conviction records and requires employers (as well as agencies that conduct criminal history background checks) to assess job applicants individually on their merits.

Advocacy Toolkit: Sealing/Expunging Arrest and Conviction Records

This toolkit helps those advocating for legislation that automatically seals arrests that never led to convictions and seals old and minor convictions after a reasonable period of time.

Advocacy Toolkit: Enforce Anti-Discrimination Laws

This toolkit provides information on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and relevant state laws that prohibit employment and other forms of discrimination against people with criminal records.

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