Today, New York City became the largest city in the nation to adopt a fair chance hiring policy so people with criminal records have an opportunity to work.

The NYC Fair Chance Act (Intro 318) is one of the strongest ban-the-box policies nationwide, requiring private and public sector employers to delay any inquiry about criminal record history until after a conditional job offer. This gives employers the opportunity to evaluate candidates based on their qualifications and interviews, not their rap sheet.

When VOCAL’s Marilyn Reyes-Scales came home from prison all she wanted was a decent job so she could support her family. She applied for countless jobs but on every application they asked about her criminal record and she never got callbacks. Years later, her criminal record continues to serve as a barrier to work. “I served my time, when can I finally say my sentence is over?” she asks.

Marilyn and all formerly incarcerated New Yorkers deserve a fair chance at employment. And with today’s passage of the Fair Chance Act – they will get one.

Thank you to Council Members Jumaane Williams, Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for co-sponsoring this important legislation. And to our partners at Community Service Society, the National Employment Law Project, 32BJ SEIU, Faith in New York, and more for fighting alongside us every step of the way.

We’ll be celebrating on June 18th at our She’s So VOCAL! Gala – where we’ll honor Marilyn Reyes-Scales for her advocacy on the Fair Chance Act and her unwavering commitment to ending mass incarceration and the war on drugs. It’s not too late to buy tickets or an ad!

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