There are approximately 92 million people with criminal records in the United States, with approximately 800,000 more released from state and federal prisons, and 9 million from local jails, annually.
Employment of people with criminal records who have paid their dues is the key social policy that substantially reduces recidivism (re-offending). And education is the foundation for any sustainable, meaningful employment. In the U.S., there is in the reentry community far too little outreach and almost no support services for white-collar and other typically educated people with criminal records. There is also far too little effort to educate as many people with criminal records as possible.
Accordingly, in 2010 Mr. Sweig founded the non-profit Institute for People with Criminal Records, the general mission of which is to seek equal justice under law, and to empower people with criminal records with quality education and to speak with a collective, unified and educated voice in the US Congress, state legislatures, counties and municipalities nationwide.
In April 2014, the “Institute for People with Criminal Records” merged into and became an initiative the Illinois-based Parent and Technology Law Center, a 501(c)(3), now using the name: Citizens’ Institute for Law & Public Policy.
The Citizens’ Institute for Law & Public Policy is committed to pursuing meaningful employment, improved access to higher education and equal opportunities of all kinds through, among other things, advocacy by and for educated and rehabilitated people with criminal records.
The Citizens’ Institute for Law & Public Policy also provides academic support for lobbying and advocacy, and among other things, is about to embark upon training people with criminal records as criminal justice reform lobbyists, and advocates.
A primary goal is that leaders in the victims’ rights, business and law enforcement communities will trust the Institute to collaborate effectively, and with political sensitivity, on how best incrementally to educate this vulnerable community, to reform legislation and influence judicial policy that protects public safety and empowers people with criminal records.