PACKED HOUSE AT MAYOR BRONIN’S RE-ENTRY FORUM, “LIFE AFTER LOCKUP: STORIES OF SUCCESS”
“As we recognize the first-ever National Reentry Week, it¹s important to bring returning citizens, community organizations, and public officials together to hear directly from those who are facing and overcoming the obstacles posed by a criminal record.” – Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin
Hartford, Conn. (April 29, 2016) – More than one-hundred people attended Mayor Bronin’s re-entry forum, “Life After Lockup: Stories of Success,” held during the U.S. Department of Justice’s first-ever National Reentry Week. The event took place on Thursday evening at the Hartford Public Library.
Prior to a panel discussion, several local and state officials – including: Mayor Bronin, City Council President Thomas J. Clarke II, City Councilman James Sanchez, and State Department of Correction¹s Commissioner Scott Semple – spoke about the importance of strengthening support for returning citizens and also highlighted Connecticut’s Second Chance Society legislative agenda.
“We have thousands of residents in our city for whom a past criminal record represents a seemingly insurmountable barrier to opportunity and employment,” said Mayor Bronin. “It’s going to take a strong partnership to become a society where punishment isn’t permanent and where anyone who wants to rebuild their life as a positive, productive member of our community has a real chance to do it. As we recognize the first-ever National Reentry Week, it’s important to bring returning citizens, community organizations, and public officials together to hear directly from those who are facing and overcoming the obstacles posed by a criminal record.”
In addition, Mayor Bronin noted that a critical part of the Second Chance Society movement must be to encourage private employers to look beyond a job applicant’s past mistakes. Holding up a Starbucks coffee cup at the podium, Bronin noted that the coffee company is one of many businesses, locally and nationally, that has committed to provide employment opportunities for returning citizens. He also highlighted local businesses such as Billings Forge Community Works and Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue as examples of second chance employers.
“I talk often with businesses who have made a conscious decision to give individuals a chance despite a criminal record, and time and again I hear that those individuals are some of the best, most loyal, most dedicated employees the employer has, because they know how hard it was to get that chance,” said Mayor Bronin. “We need to continue to encourage small, medium, and large businesses to take the fair employment pledge and recognize that a criminal record shouldn’t be a permanent barrier to employment.”
The panel consisted of five newly returning citizens working with Hartford based reentry programs: Tracy Bernard, 42; Markus Keaton, 27; Bruce Bressler, 35; Diego Lopez, 36; and Edward Andrews, 50.
• Click here for photos from the event: http://bit.ly/1QDXiqw.
For more on last night’s forum, click here for coverage from the Hartford Courant: http://cour.at/1VWRlxo.
STATEMENT: MAYOR BRONIN ON HOUSE PASSAGE OF THE FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT ACT (HB 5237)
"The Fair Chance Employment Act will help us build stronger, safer communities by promoting second chances for individuals with criminal records. I urge the state Senate to join the state House of Representatives in passing this important measure.” – Mayor Luke Bronin
Hartford, Conn. (April 26, 2016) — BACKGROUND: Today, the state House of Representatives passed An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment (HB 5237). Also known as a “ban the box” measure, the bill seeks to prevent employers from requiring individual employees — or prospective employees — to disclose any criminal history until the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to such employee or prospective employee.
In response, Mayor Luke Bronin made the following statement:
“Today's overwhelming vote for the Fair Chance Employment Act in the House of Representatives sends a strong message during National Reentry Week. This bill recognizes that past mistakes, particularly those mistakes made during youth, should not be a permanent barrier to employment. The Fair Chance Employment Act will help us build stronger, safer communities by promoting second chances for individuals with criminal records. I urge the state Senate to join the state House of Representatives in passing this important measure.”
HARTFORD, Conn. (April 20, 2016) – This week, Moody’s Investors Service announced that it has assigned a downgraded rating to the City of Hartford. This serves as the second downgrade from the rating agency in the past 10 months. The announcement also comes on the heels of Standard & Poor’s assigning the state’s capital city with a downgraded rating last month.
“We’ve been anticipating and are not surprised by Moody’s rating downgrade,” Mayor Bronin said. “The rating agencies are looking at the same numbers we are, and we’ve been very open and transparent about Hartford’s severe fiscal challenges. This rating action should serve as one more indication that we need to tackle our challenges head-on and act quickly to make the changes necessary to get our city on a path to fiscal health.”
Moody’s noted that the City of Hartford’s outlook remains negative. The rating agency said that the negative outlook reflects its expectation that the city will remain challenged to restore and maintain fiscal stability given its limited revenue raising ability, elevated fixed cost burden, and a reliance on non-recurring revenue sources. The outlook also incorporates the city's significant reliance on state aid, which could adversely impact the city.
• Click here to read more on Moody’s credit opinion: http://bit.ly/1pgDl2P.
Despite the downgrade, the ratings agency mentioned Mayor Bronin’s FY2017 budget proposal, highlighting that it benefits from state aid, cost savings, relies on employee concessions, reductions in workforce, and various departmental cuts. In addition, Moody’s states that the proposal uses one-time measures to a lesser extent than past budgets to address operational challenges.
“None of the proposed cuts are easy,” said Mayor Bronin. “This budget makes the cuts we can responsibly make, while continuing to deliver vital services to the residents of our city. We need to get serious about finding sustainable savings.”
• Click here to read Mayor Bronin’s budget proposal for FY2017: http://bit.ly/1MFmB0q.
During his budget process, Mayor Bronin has highlighted that even with the deep cuts and substantial labor concessions included in his recommended budget, Hartford will continue to face dire fiscal challenges, including a projected deficit of at least $30 million in FY2018.
“If we are going to be a healthy city that is delivering basic city services and investing in our future, there is a limit to the cuts that can be made and there is a limit to the tax revenue our small city can support,” said Mayor Bronin. “We’re going to do everything we can to get our house in order, but we must also build a statewide and regional consensus that Hartford’s success matters to the entire state, because our looming fiscal challenges are bigger than we can overcome alone.”
MAYOR BRONIN APPLAUDS CITY COUNCIL FOR URGING ACTION ON FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT
MAYOR BRONIN HERALDS COUNCIL ACTION AS A STRONG MESSAGE DURING NATIONAL REENTRY WEEK
Hartford, Conn. (April 26, 2016)— Today, Mayor Luke Bronin applauded the Hartford City Council for passing a resolution urging state legislators to support passage of An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment (HB 5237). Also known as a “ban the box” measure, the bill seeks to prevent employers from requiring individual employees — or prospective employees — to disclose any criminal history until the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to such employee or prospective employee.
“When an employee is otherwise qualified, a past mistake — especially those unrelated to the nature of the job they're seeking — should not bar them from employment,” said Mayor Bronin. “This bill recognizes that past mistakes, particularly those mistakes made during youth, should not be a permanent barrier to employment. The Fair Chance Employment Act aims to strengthen Hartford’s efforts to reduce crime by promoting second chances for individuals with criminal records. The City Council’s support sends a strong message as we recognize National Reentry Week.”
Click here for more information on HB 5237: http://1.usa.gov/1VP5lcE.
One-in-three American adults have some criminal record, according to the Center for American Progress. And a conviction record reduces the likelihood of a follow-up interview or job offer by nearly one-half, according to the Council of State Governments.
Research shows that fair chance employment policies are also good for business. The decreased output of goods and services from those with criminal records results in an estimated $57 to $65 billion in losses to our national economy annually, according to a Center for Economic and Policy Research study.
Nationwide, more than 100 cities — including Hartford — and counties, as well as more than 20 states, have adopted “ban the box” policies to encourage employers to put a candidate’s qualifications first. At the federal level, President Barack Obama backed a “ban-the-box” policy in directing federal agencies to wait until later in the hiring process to look into job applicants’ records.
“We believe everyone deserves a second chance and a person’s prior mistakes should not automatically disqualify them from receiving an employment offer, let alone an interview,” said City Council President Thomas J. Clarke II. “Everyone should receive a fair and equal chance in obtaining a job and we hope our state lawmakers share the same sentiments.”