Former Prisoners Get A Break

Boston took a big step this spring to help reintegrate ex-felons into their communities, by easing background checks on potential city employees. The city will not look at people’s criminal records in most cases, but if it does, it will wait until an applicant has proven he is qualified and the city is ready to hire him. If the city changes its mind after looking at the person’s record, the applicant will have the right to challenge the criminal reports’ accuracy. The city’s new policy also applies to private contractors it hires. (NY Times, 3/31/06)

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Alan Mallach, senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress and the National Housing Institute, is the author of many works on housing and planning, including Bringing Buildings Back, A Decent Home, and Inclusionary Housing in International Perspective. He served as director of housing and economic development for Trenton, New Jersey, from 1990 to 1999, and teaches in the City and Regional Planning program at Pratt Institute.


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