ProJo: My Turn: Eileen Hayes: People need a second chance

In my years at Amos House I have had the honor of watching hundreds of men and women move past the mistakes of their past and become valued members of society. I am proud that in the past 20 years, we have employed over 100 men and women with criminal backgrounds.

Many agencies across the state — including Amos House — are working hard to make sure that our citizens have access to housing, training, employment, food, and shelter so they can begin to support themselves and their families. These challenges are particularly difficult for those who are working to live a positive life under the shadow of mistakes for which they have already paid a price and served time. The people that come through our doors are faced with many challenges such as homelessness, addiction, unemployment and histories of incarceration, but they are also survivors seeking to be better mothers, sons, and providers for their families.

Yet even as we provide services to nearly 15,000 people each year, we know that without access to meaningful employment that allows for economic stability and safe, affordable housing, many Rhode Islanders will not be able to move forward. For people with conviction records, this is even more of a reality. This is why Amos House supports the campaign to end the discriminatory practice of denying someone with a record access to occupational licenses and urges the passage of H5863 and S610.

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Courtesy of Providence Journal

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