National Criminal Justice Training & Technical Assistance

The Legal Action Center (LAC) provides training and technical assistance to criminal justice agencies, workforce development programs, and policymakers on federal, state, and local legal barriers faced by people with criminal records in order to facilitate their successful re-entry into society and reduce crime and recidivism. The most common subjects on which our services are sought include:

State-specific legal barriers affecting individuals with criminal records
LAC completed a national compendium that catalogs the civil legal barriers faced by individuals with criminal records in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report - funded by the Open Society Institute - included the first-ever comprehensive compilation of state barriers in the areas of employment, public assistance & food stamps, access to records for non-criminal justice purposes, voting, drivers' license privileges, foster and adoptive parental rights, and public housing. The original study was completed in 2004 and the research has been updated to reflect policy and legislative changes as of February 2009. The report is posted at http://www.lac.org/roadblocks-to-reentry. A summary of the updates will be available in an Executive Summary in May 2009.
Employment of individuals with criminal records
LAC's National HIRE Network operates a national clearinghouse of information and technical assistance for non-profit and government agencies working to improve the employment prospects of individuals with criminal records. The national clearinghouse serves as a central repository of information pertaining to the employment of individuals with criminal records for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers around the country. The clearinghouse includes information about model programs and policies, best practices, legal issues such as negligent hiring and employment discrimination, relevant research, and potential funding sources. Assistance is available by telephone, fax, letter, and e-mail.
Housing of individuals with criminal records
LAC provides technical assistance to local housing agencies and others regarding the federal housing laws that affect individuals with criminal records. We assist housing agencies on a wide variety of issues relating to the eligibility for housing of people with criminal records, including establishing reasonable time periods and standards for considering an applicant's criminal history and efforts toward rehabilitation, and the special circumstances that arise when an applicant is still under criminal justice supervision. Assistance is available by telephone, fax, letter, and e-mail.
(return to top)



Accomplishments

  • LAC provided technical assistance to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation's Fathers at Work Initiative on legal and practical issues concerning the employment of individuals with criminal records. We developed state-specific manuals for service providers and individuals entitled Employment Discrimination and What to Do About It and How to Get and Clean Up Your State Rap Sheet for the states of California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia (see below for details).
  • LAC provided technical assistance to the U.S. Department of Justice's Reentry Court and Reentry Partnership Initiatives by analyzing and summarizing the federal housing, employment, and public assistance laws that affect individuals with criminal records. As part of this project, LAC drafted short papers on Housing Laws Affecting Individuals with Criminal Convictions; Employment Laws Affecting Individuals with Criminal Convictions, and Public Assistance Laws Affecting Individuals with Criminal Convictions (see below for details).
  • LAC also compiled summaries of the admission and eviction guidelines and procedures affecting people with criminal records in thirteen local housing agencies around the country. These documents can be found the Publications section of this web site, at the bottom of the criminal justice page.

(return to top)



Publications and Other Materials Available for Free
To download these and other documents, visit the Publications section of this web site.

  • Employment Discrimination and What to Do About It (2002) - (Available for CA, IL, NY, PA and VA)
  • How to Get and Clean Up Your State Rap Sheet (2001) (Available for CA, IL, NY, PA and VA)
  • From Hard Time to Full Time: Strategies to Help Move Ex-Offenders from Welfare to Work (2001)
  • Getting to Work: How TANF Can Support Ex-Offender Parents in the Transition to Self Sufficiency (2001)
  • Smart Solutions - Individuals with Criminal Histories: A Potential Untapped Resource (2002)
  • Housing Laws Affecting Individuals with Criminal Convictions (2000)
  • Employment Laws Affecting Individuals with Criminal Convictions (2000)
  • Public Assistance Laws Affecting Individuals with Criminal Convictions (2000)

(return to top)