Read all the latest LAC News, Blogs, Events and Highlights here.

The Passage of Sealing Legislation

While the decision to close Riker’s Island and passage of legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility have been rightly trumpeted as major reforms of some of New York’s most deleterious criminal justice policies and practices, an extremely important piece of progressive legislation has gone largely unnoticed and uncelebrated: beginning in October, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be eligible to have their old criminal convictions sealed.

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LAC Praises HUD Guidance Prohibiting Housing Discrimination Against People with Criminal Histories

LAC applauds the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development’s (HUD) guidance that declares it a violation of the Fair Housing Act for landlords to have blanket bans that exclude people with criminal records. HUD’s new Guidance extends its earlier efforts to increase opportunities for people with criminal histories to obtain safe and secure housing that is critical to successful reintegration and full societal participation.

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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo to Conditionally Pardon 10,000 Former Youth Convicted of Adult Crimes

Legal Action Center applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo for the bold, humane, and just plan he announced today to conditionally pardon people convicted of misdemeanors or non-violent felonies when they were 16- or 17-years-old, if they have not had a subsequent conviction in ten years. “These pardons are a huge step to reverse the devastating and perpetual harms caused by criminal records,” said LAC Director and President Paul Samuels.

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The Annie E. Casey Foundation Grant to Support LAC’s National H.I.R.E. Network

The Legal Action Center’s National Helping Individuals Reenter through Employment Network (National H.I.R.E. Network) has received a $40,000 grant from The Annie E. Casey Foundation to make it easier for people with criminal records to live with their families in safe and stable housing.

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NY Federal Court Grants Preliminary Approval of FCRA Class Action Settlement

On December 11, 2015, a New York federal court preliminarily approved the settlement in Legal Action Center’s class action lawsuit, Jones v. Halstead Management Co. et al., No. 1:14-cv-03125-VEC. The suit charged Halstead with criminal background screening practices that cost Mr. Jones a job as a doorman and violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Plaintiff Kevin A. Jones, who had no criminal record, lost a job with Halstead because a commercial background check conducted by Sterling Infosystems, Inc. mixed him up with a Kevin M. Jones, who had several convictions. Legal Action Center filed the suit in the Southern District of New York with co-counsel, Francis & Mailman, P.C.

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Legal Action Center Celebrates Implementation of New York City Fair Chance Act

Legal Action Center celebrates implementation of the Fair Chance Act in New York City. LAC supported passage of this critical legislation which aims to eliminate another aspect of unfair discrimination against workers with criminal records. In combination with Article 23-A of the Correction Act, a national model for prohibiting employment discrimination based on criminal record information that is not job-related, the Fair Chance Act will ensure more equal opportunities for New York City workers with criminal records.

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