Business community endorses broad second-chance agenda

The Business Roundtable, which represents the CEOs of major U.S. companies, yesterday issued corporate and public policy recommendations to advance racial equity and justice in the wake of 2020’s triple crises disproportionately impacting communities of color: pandemic, recession, and protests in response to police violence.  The policy recommendations have six themes: employment, finance, education, health, housing, and the justice system.  The justice system policy report was developed with the assistance of CCRC’s Margaret Love and David Schlussel, who provided general advice in connection with the Roundtable’s consideration of second-chance policies.

The second-chance recommendations are extremely encouraging, signaling the business community’s embrace of a broad agenda for alleviating barriers to economic and social opportunities for people with a criminal record.

The Roundtable endorsed specific pending federal legislation dealing with automatic expungement, judicial certificates of relief, fines and fees reforms, and prison education and training programs.  The Roundtable also expressed support for expanding federal and state deferred adjudication (judicial diversion) policies, limiting the dissemination of dated conviction records in background checks, “banning the box” in hiring in all states, and relaxing state and federal hiring and occupational licensing bans.

As part of its action agenda, the Roundtable has committed to partnering on the creation of a business coalition to advance second-chance hiring by employers. Coalition members will exchange best practices, learn from subject matter experts, and develop and deploy tools to improve second-chance hiring, as part of a workforce diversity strategy.

Our recent national report, “The Many Roads to Reintegration,” which surveys the current state of the law on many of the issues addressed by the Roundtable recommendations–including employment, licensing, expungement, judicial certificates, deferred adjudication, and other forms of record relief–is available here.

The Roundtable’s full set of justice system recommendations are listed below.

Business Roundtable: “Justice System”

Prison Education & Training

  • “Business Roundtable endorses the Promoting Reentry through Education in Prisons (PREP) Act of 2019, which would strengthen education and workforce training programs for incarcerated individuals.”
  • “Business Roundtable reaffirms its 2019 endorsement of the Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act of 2019, which would extend Pell Grants eligibility to inmates.”

Criminal Record Relief

  • “Business Roundtable supports expansion of deferred adjudication policies as well as congressional reforms that authorize federal courts to avoid conviction and prison sentences for, and to extend expungement to, a broader class of defendants.”
  • “Business Roundtable  endorses the Clean Slate Act of 2019, which would automatically expunge certain non-violent federal records.”
  • “Business Roundtable endorses the RE-ENTER Act of 2019, which would grant federal courts the authority to issue a certificate of rehabilitation for certain federal crimes.”
  • “Business Roundtable supports reforms to the Fair Credit Reporting Act to restore the seven-year limit on dissemination of conviction records by credit reporting companies, a limit that now applies only to non-conviction records.”

Employment & Occupational Licensing

  • “Business Roundtable will partner on the creation of a business coalition to advance second-chance hiring by employers.”
  • “Business Roundtable supports passage of ‘Ban the Box’ legislation in all states, which would require removal of criminal records inquiries from employment applications.”
  • “Business Roundtable supports reforms to federal and state statutes that prohibit hiring or licensure of individuals who have been convicted of, or entered pretrial diversion for, certain crimes unrelated to public safety.”

Fines & Fees

  • “Business Roundtable endorses the State Justice Improvement Act of 2020, which would provide technical assistance to states to create more equitable justice system fee structures.”
  • “Business Roundtable endorses the Driving for Opportunities Act of 2020, which would incentivize states to repeal laws that suspend driver’s licenses for unpaid justice-related fees.”


  • “Business Roundtable calls on Congress to commit to pass bipartisan policing reform that aligns with the principles of data collection and transparency, accountability, standards, training, and community engagement.”