For millions of Americans, economic stability is a moving target. And for the formerly incarcerated, hitting that target can often feel impossible. Thanks to a newly launched emergency support program, those who have experienced prior incarceration are receiving a lifeline. TimeDone Economic Empowerment Program is aiming to help those with a past record, find their way to financial firmness.
“The evidence tells us that one of the biggest indicators of success after leaving prison is economic stability,” says Bay Area TimeDone member Succatti Shaw. “With proper resources and support, Americans with old legal records can jumpstart their future and help improve the nation’s economy.”
Black Americans have long been overrepresented in American prisons. Though we make up roughly 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, we outnumber white Americans behind bars. Upon release, many formerly incarcerated people find it difficult to secure steady jobs, contributing to recidivism rates and the inability to raise whole families out of poverty. Through the launch of TimeDone, resources and support will be provided by public safety reform organization Alliance for Safety and Justice, and the program will work to combat post-conviction poverty. A press release for the initiative defines it as a state of long-term economic immobility due to prohibitions stemming from old legal records.
Supporters see the program as a win-win. U.S. employers are eager to fill 11 million job openings, and Americans previously shut out of the job market by a past conviction or arrest will be able to fill them. TimeDone will also provide resources to support credit repair, home-buying, record clearance, and more.
“I’m grateful to Alliance for Safety and Justice for launching this program for people like me, who desperately wish to create an economically stable future for ourselves and our families,” says Shaw.
According to TimeDone, 650,000 Americans are released from prison every year. Beyond facing hurdles with employment opportunities, other legal restrictions make it nearly impossible for them to take advantage of finance-boosting opportunities including loans, insurance, and volunteer opportunities.
“Millions of Americans, just like me, have served their time; millions more simply have an arrest that never led to conviction sitting on their records,” says Jay Jordan, CEO of Alliance for Safety and Justice and national director of the organization’s TimeDone program. “We want to build a better future for ourselves, our families, and our communities, yet a record too often shuts us out of opportunities to move forward.” Jordan says TimeDone is that opportunity. “These innovative partnerships connect people with employers, credit education, and more to give them a hand-up.”