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Criminal Records, Race and Redemption

“Poor individuals of color disproportionately carry the weight of a criminal record. They confront an array of legal and non-legal barriers, the most prominent of which are housing and employment ... To address these issues, this article proposes a redemption-focused approach to criminal records. This approach recognizes that individuals ultimately move past their interactions with the criminal justice system and, therefore, they should no longer be saddled by their criminal records. Thus, the article calls for greatly expanding laws that allow individuals to remove their criminal records from public access and, in the end, allow them to reach redemption” (p. 963). This article is divided into four parts. Part I-Race and Criminal Records. Part II-Criminal Records, Housing, and Employment. Part III-Federal, State, and Local Efforts to ameliorate the impact of criminal records-the Federal Interagency Reentry Council; Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Equal Employment Opportunity; and state and local efforts to “Ban the Box Movement”. And Part IV-the need for a redemptive-focused approach to criminal records”-the inadequacy of existing efforts to ameliorate; the impact of a criminal record; and the redemptive-focused approach.