Major new federal awards support second chance advocacy

Earlier this week the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor made two major awards to the Council of State Governments (CSG) to support the development of resources on collateral consequences and second chance programs.  The awards aim to build capacity within the advocacy community to assist those seeking restoration of rights and status nationwide.

The first award is a $4.6 million contract awarded by the Labor Department for the development of the National Clean Slate Clearinghouse, a federal initiative first announced by President Obama last November.  The Clearinghouse is intended to “build capacity for legal services needed to help with record-cleaning, expungement, and related civil legal services.”

The second award is a $5 million grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to support the ongoing work of the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC), a project developed by CSG in 2011 with federal funding earmarked in the Second Chance Act of 2007.  One exciting aspect of that award is that it will bring the National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC) into the NRRC fold.

As we reported back in April, the Clean Slate Clearinghouse will have two major components.  The first is a website that will “provide[] access to local, state, and national information on criminal record mitigation,” including “state-by-state information on sealing, expungement, and other related legal services.”  The second is an education and outreach program that will provide tools and training to support the record mitigation efforts of legal service providers and policy advocates across the country.  The creation of a well-funded and consistently-maintained one-stop practice resource should be great news for anyone concerned about reentry and second-chance issues.  The Clearinghouse will be jointly overseen by the Departments of Labor and Justice.

We covered the possible transfer of the NICCC away from the ABA to the NRRC in a post earlier this year.  The NICCC is a comprehensive interactive catalog of collateral consequences and relief mechanisms that was developed between 2011 and 2014 by the American Bar Association under a grant from the National Institute of Justice.  As a part of the NRRC, the NICCC’s maintenance and expansion will continue.  Free of copyright restrictions, its data can now be incorporated into many of the reentry resources that the NRRC already provides.  The NICCC has the potential to be an invaluable resource for advocates, policy-makers, and individuals with criminal records, and we look forward to seeing its usefulness improve under the NRRC’s direction.


Remember that while you’re waiting for the Clearinghouse to come together you can always obtain up-to-date information on the availability of pardon, expungement, sealing, and other record mitigation mechanisms in each U.S. jurisdiction by viewing the state-specific restoration of rights guides hosted right here on this site.