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 Reentry Clinic - Civic Restoration

The individuals served by the Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) are among the most impoverished and disempowered in our society. Among the several target populations that CCA works with are people who have been involved in the criminal justice system and who are now seeking to reintegrate into their communities to live productive and law-abiding lives. However, punishment does not end after serving a sentence: there are many consequences that haunt people long after they have completed their sentences–often for the rest of their lives. These are often referred to as the "collateral consequences" of a criminal conviction.

Over 90% of large private employers now use private companies to conduct criminal background searches. Many employers refuse to hire someone with a criminal conviction. Most states have enacted regulations that make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get the licensing and certification needed to work in many different occupations.

One of the projects that functions under the umbrella of CCA's Justice Strategies initiative is the Reentry Clinic. The Reentry Clinic works with men and women who face barriers to employment, education, and licensing as a result of their prior incarceration or simply as a result of a criminal conviction. The Reentry Clinic utilizes state laws which help a person avoid or minimize the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction and seeks to make legal protections more effective.  

The Reentry Clinic provides several services, including:

  • assistance in obtaining official criminal history records ("rap sheets") and reviewing these records so clients understand what their criminal conviction history is;
  • assistance in identifying and correcting mistakes on criminal history records;
  • assistance in applying for Certificates of Rehabilitation (including Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct);
  • advocacy to occupational licensing agencies;
  • counseling with regard to legal rights and obligations in searching for employment with a criminal record; and
  • strategizing about the most effective way to talk to prospective employers about criminal justice involvement.

By providing an array of legal services, CCA assists individuals to overcome barriers to employment, housing, and education and become productive, law-abiding citizens.