As a new report highlights massive hurdles for people with an arrest or other legal record, TimeDone Pennsylvania brings together Harrisburg families to champion economic freedom and public safety
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today, more than 100 Pennsylvanians with past records gathered at Breaking The Chainz Community Resource Center for a neighborhood event to promote community empowerment and public safety. Organizers are calling it a “new day” for those ready to work to build safe, economically vibrant neighborhoods in every corner of Pennsylvania.
TimeDone Pennsylvania members joined local crime survivors to advocate for common sense public safety policies that help break cycles of crime and victimization. Members also received free information about housing, employment, legal services, and other resources to help them break free from post-incarceration poverty.
“Despite having served their time, millions of Americans are still being excluded from fully participating in our economy or giving back to their communities, leaving them in circumstances that are similar – or worse – to those that led to their incarceration,” said Dr. Kevin Dolphin, Pennsylvania state chapter coordinator for TimeDone. “When we give hard-working folks a chance to turn their lives around, we are showing a commitment to redemption and to a safer, more economically vibrant future for our state.”
This event ties with a recent groundbreaking report showing the devastating toll a past legal record can have on folks working to move on with their lives. The national survey of people living with an old record found that more than half struggle to find work and earn enough to afford groceries or rent.
Pennsylvania has made recent strides, including passing the Pennsylvania Clean Slate Act, which has ushered in the expungement of upwards of one million old legal records in the state. Careers, housing, and higher education have become new possibilities for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Still, nearly three million residents live with an old record, effectively locking many folks in our state out of opportunities to build stability for their families and give back to their communities. More than 800 state laws and restrictions – collectively known as collateral consequences – exist that prevent people with a record from securing employment, education, housing, and more.
“Cycles of crimes and poverty cannot be broken if our policies don’t focus on the humanity of those affected. Having proven solutions that help rehabilitate and uplift formerly incarcerated individuals does that,” says Jay Jordan, CEO of TimeDone. “When the system can see the individual for what they can become, rather than what they have done, only then can we build a fairer justice system and strong communities across the state.”
TimeDone is a flagship program of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, the nation’s largest grassroots public safety organization that brings together families from communities most harmed by violent crime. TimeDone unites families affected by the criminal justice system to share resources and hope, advocate for changes to policy that make redemption possible for more Americans, and stand alongside crime victims to win solutions that make all communities safer.
TimeDone helps folks with a past record gain access to information and services – from expungement, to credit counseling, to higher education – while allowing them to step into their essential role as advocates for community-led public safety.
ABOUT THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) is a national advocacy organization that aims to replace ineffective criminal justice system policies with what works to keep people safe. We represent diverse crime survivors as well as people living with old records as key public safety stakeholders. ASJ brings our members together with state leaders and coalition partners to win reforms that stop cycles of crime, reduce costly incarceration, and make communities safer. We support a range of “shared safety” reforms, including crime prevention, community health, rehabilitation, economic mobility, and trauma recovery. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.