The Lead

Pa. lawmakers can, and should, create pathways to work for the formerly incarcerated | Opinion

By: - September 26, 2022 6:30 am

Gov. Tom Wolf signs the Clean Slate bill, a landmark criminal justice reform measure, into late in 2018. (Gov. Tom Wolf/Flickr)

By Mike Doner

Flagger Force employs over 1,000 workers across Pennsylvania who bring diverse backgrounds,  ethnicities, and experiences, including a significant number who are justice-involved. As a believer in fair chance employment and giving individuals who want to work the opportunity to do so, I support the  bipartisan House Bill 1826, sponsored by Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland.

This legislation would expand the automatic sealing of drug felonies after 10 years  conviction-free, expand petition sealing by courts, and shorten sealing waiting periods for minor  convictions. Sealing criminal records for external publics would remove barriers to success in life for  justice-involved individuals. 

The contributions and potential of formerly incarcerated individuals cannot be fully realized by businesses  and our economy if the current system and policies inherently work against them.

I believe, as an  employer, we have an opportunity, through offering gainful employment and other supportive services, to  break the cycle of recidivism. By supporting HB 1826, together we can fight systemic issues that underlie  labor issues, break generational cycles that lead to crime, and aid in a more inclusive economic recovery. 

Mike Doner is the president and CEO of Flagger Force. He writes from Hummelstown, Pa.

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