Criminal Justice Advocates Applaud Biden-Harris Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Reforms for Expanding Access to People with Past Convictions

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2021

Alliance for Safety and Justice Previously Called for This Reform in a 2020 Letter to Senate Leaders; Changes to PPP Promote Equity by Removing Needless Barriers to Accessing Small Business Support

Washington, D.C. – Alliance for Safety and Justice applauded the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement today to change the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including the elimination of exclusions of small business owners with old legal convictions from accessing support through the program. This change, which was proposed in previous bipartisan legislation supported by Alliance for Safety and Justice, will allow countless American small business owners who’ve paid their debts to better support their families and employees during the pandemic’s impact on the economy.

“These federal restrictions had nothing to do with public safety and needlessly undermined small businesses,” said Jay Jordan, co-founder of Alliance for Safety and Justice’s #TimeDone campaign to eliminate barriers to success for people with old legal records. “More than 70 million Americans are living with past records that continue to hang over our heads because of unnecessary restrictions on where we can work, learn and live. We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration and Senators Cardin, Portman, Booker and Lankford for advancing these changes. This will give people who’ve done their time and paid their debts the ability to continue contributing to their communities by keeping their businesses afloat in these challenging times.”

In June of 2020, Alliance for Safety and Justice sent a letter to Senate leaders in support of the Paycheck Protection Program Second Chance Act, which is referenced in the new Biden-Harris fact sheet. The letter argued that “the SBA’s eligibility restrictions on access to this critical relief program, like the vast majority of collateral consequences these 70 million Americans [living with past convictions] are already facing, have nothing to do with public safety and do more harm than good, even more so in this time of crisis. Locking people out of support programs and contributing to their economic destabilization will only further harm them, their families, and their communities.”

The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 42,000 crime survivors. For more information, visit