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Senator Paul Pushes for 2nd Chance for Certain Felons
Ex-offenders across the country face an uphill battle to re-enter society.
In Kentucky, 70% of those individuals are successful.
Senator Rand Paul is pushing legislation to do increase that number.
Some political observers may think of them as strange bedfellows, but Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker are taking steps to reform the criminal justice system.
Senator Paul said, "I'm just saying that people make mistakes and they deserve to get a second chance."
They're calling that 2nd chance, The Redeem Act. The legislation would include expunging or sealing juvenile records and nonviolent records, all which will help ex-offenders find employment.
Paul says he has a friend, whose brother, 30 years ago, went to the University of Kentucky and grew marijuana plants and got a felony conviction. That man still can't vote in Kentucky and when he goes to apply for a job, he has to go check a box saying he's a convicted felon.
Re-entry Network Chairman Courtney Stewart councils those returning home from prison. He knows first-hand the stigma associated with being an ex-con.
It's not just about finding a job, but a career.Stewart says, feeling unsuccessful on the outside may return some back to the inside, behind bars.
Currently more than 21,000 people are incarcerated in Kentucky or in a community supervision program. Although the crime relapse rate is the lowest in a decade, experts say it's still too high.
Nationally 1 in 31 adults are under some form of correctional control, counting prison, jail, parole and probation populations. After reentering society, a criminal record affects employment, transportation and access to public housing.