Second Chances

Q What message would you have for employers who perhaps would like to give people like the folks you’re meeting with today a second chance?

THE PRESIDENT: “Well, many of the people sitting at this table described with incredible gratitude the employers who did give them that chance. And what I think employers will find is that if they are willing to look past mistakes that often were made when these individuals were 20, 21, 23, and now they are older and more mature, you’ll end up getting really hard, really loyal workers.

And I’ve heard that repeatedly from employers, that if they are willing to take a chance on somebody, they will be rewarded by somebody who is grateful and will go above and beyond the call of duty. But unfortunately, we have a lot of barriers in a lot of companies. This is part of the reason why, at the federal level, we have instituted a banning of the box. Because so often, that prevents somebody from even meeting a felon, because all they see is there’s a record there, and don’t have a chance to hear somebody’s story and get a measure of the man or the woman and their ability to do the job.

I am very supportive of us generally eliminating that as a screening function. I think employers are going to have to continue to recognize that there are some particular issues surrounding persons who are ex-offenders that may have to be accommodated. They may have to meet with their probation officer occasionally and so forth.

But uniformly, when I’ve talked to employers who take a chance — and that includes, by the way, this establishment, which is one of the reasons that we decided to have lunch here, Busboys and Poets — burger was excellent. (Laughter.) But what is also true is, is that they’ve given a number of ex-offenders a chance and do not screen using that box to find out at the front end whether somebody should get an interview or now.

What they’ll find is they will get somebody who is driven and understands how precious it is just to have a chance to be useful and to do good work. And the kindness that employers show I think will be returned many fold. So I hope that that’s a practice among private sector employers and public sector employers that begins to spread. ”

3/30/16 President Obama



FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions to Promote Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the Formerly- Incarcerated

This Administration has consistently taken steps to make our criminal justice system fairer and more effective and to address the vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. Today, in Newark, New Jersey, President Obama will continue to promote these goals by highlighting the reentry process of formerly-incarcerated individuals and announce new actions aimed at helping Americans who’ve paid their debt to society rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities.

Each year, more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Advancing policies and programs that enable these men and women to put their lives back on track and earn their second chance promotes not only justice and fairness, but also public safety.  That is why this Administration has taken a series of concrete actions to reduce the challenges and barriers that the formerly incarcerated confront, including through the work of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, a cabinet-level working group to support the federal government’s efforts to promote public safety and economic opportunity through purposeful cross-agency coordination and collaboration.


Obama visit spotlights Integrity House’s 50-year fight against addiction

November 1, 2015 Kelly Heyboer – nj

NEWARK — Every year, Integrity House welcomes about 2,400 guests at the doors of its treatment facilities.

On Monday, it will welcome its most famous guest yet—President Barack Obama.

Unlike most of the people who pass through Integrity House’s facilities in Newark, Obama is not looking for help with an addiction. He is visiting the non-profit rehabilitation organization to highlight its work with drug- and alcohol-addicted criminals.

Obama will meet with several Intergrity House clients trying to kick their addictions and change their lives, said Robert J. Budsock, Integrity House’s chief executive officer.

For more:


Integrity House

Integrity House provides the opportunity for people to reclaim their lives.

Established in 1968, Integrity House offers a full continuum of care for individuals with substance use disorders. It is a carefully managed, highly effective treatment community. We are committed to serving individuals and families to make sustainable life-style changes.

Program levels include: long term residential, intensive short term residential, outpatient, and supportive housing. Integrated treatment includes co-occuring services as well as medication assisted support as needed. Varied levels of care allow placement of individuals in flexible programs that best fit their needs.

Integrity House is the largest treatment facility funded and licensed by the State of New Jersey.

For more:

Serving second chances: NYC food truck hires ex-inmates

October 31, 2015 By VERENA DOBNIK – AP

NEW YORK (AP) — Even amid New York City’s eclectic food trucks, Snowday’s concept is unusual: “gourmet lumberjack,” a farm-to-table menu with maple syrup-drizzled grilled cheese sandwiches, seasoned pork ribs and fresh vegetables.

But that’s not all that sets it apart. Snowday is staffed by young men and women who have spent time behind bars, most of them in the city’s notoriously violent Rikers Island jail.

“I always wanted to work on a food truck. I always wanted to be that person at the grill,” says Darius Jones, a 23-year-old from Harlem with a history of street fighting, one of about two dozen former inmates who have gone through the program over the last two years.

Jones was hired out of a halfway house by Snowday’s founder, Jordyn Lexton, a former teacher at Rikers who grew frustrated seeing some of the same young people she taught returning to jail over and over again.

Lexton, 29, left Rikers in 2012 and founded the nonprofit Drive Change, which uses the food truck to teach the formerly incarcerated cooking, hospitality, money management and even emotional development to prepare them for re-entry into the job market.

“I witnessed a system that did not do much to help young people rehabilitate,” Lexton said. “One of the few places in the jail where my students were really happy was in the culinary arts class, with the power of teamwork, camaraderie and a shared meal.”

The program capitalizes on that interest and adds the discipline of a competitive business. At Drive Change‘s headquarters in Brooklyn, a small, busy kitchen serves as what Lexton calls a “a living classroom.” In addition to learning to cook, employees engage in sessions that reinforce the qualities of a successful life: trust, love, respect for others and self-reflection.

“I became a man, in control of myself,” Jones says of the program. “I was needed, I was wanted, I was loved.”

Three Snowday “fellows” — as the program calls them — have gone on to jobs at food service or catering companies. One works for the Metropolitan Transit Authority and another has gone to college.

“When it comes to access to opportunity, these young people have had streets ahead of them paved with red lights, stop signs, dead ends, do-not-enters,” Lexton said. “And our goal is to pave the future with all green lights.”

For more:

“Supporting successful reentry is an essential part of the Justice Department’s mission to promote public safety — because by helping individuals return to productive, law-abiding lives, we can reduce crime across the country and make our neighborhoods better places to live.

“An important part of that task is preparing those who have paid their debt to society for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, and addressing obstacles to successful reentry that too many returning citizens encounter.”

– Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch
National Reentry Week Announcement
April 2016


November 2, 2015
President Obama is joined by Sen. Cory Booker and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka
for a discussion of reforming the criminal justice and how formerly incarcerated individuals rejoin society
Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey






17 thoughts on “Second Chances

  1. WH

    Monday, November 2, 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    President Obama signs The Budget Act of 2015

    Oval Office

    11:50 A.M. EST

    12:00 PM
    President Obama departs the White House
    South Lawn

    12:15 AM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews

    1:00 PM
    President Obama arrives Newark
    Newark Liberty International Airport

    1:25 PM
    President Obama visits the rehabilitation organization Integrity House
    Integrity House, Newark, New Jersey

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    3:15 PM
    President Obama convenes a roundtable discussion on prison reform
    Rutgers University – Newark, Center for Law & Justice, Newark, New Jersey

    4:00 PM
    4:20 PM
    President Obama Speaks on the Re-entry Process of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
    Rutgers University Richard Rodgers Theatre, Newark, New Jersey

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    President Obama attends a DCCC event
    Private Residence, New York

    8:00 PM
    8:05 PM
    President Obama attends a DNC event
    Richard Rodgers Theatre, New York

    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM
    10:05 PM
    President Obama departs Newark
    Newark Liberty International Airport

    11:00 PM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews

    11:15 PM
    President Obama arrives the White House
    South Lawn

  2. Second Chance

    Given another chance to make thigns right again.

    Success For Life = Trust + Love + Respect For Others + Self-Reflection

    • Obama visit spotlights Integrity House’s 50-year fight against addiction

      November 1, 2015 Kelly Heyboer – nj

      NEWARK — Every year, Integrity House welcomes about 2,400 guests at the doors of its treatment facilities.

      On Monday, it will welcome its most famous guest yet—President Barack Obama.

      Unlike most of the people who pass through Integrity House’s facilities in Newark, Obama is not looking for help with an addiction. He is visiting the non-profit rehabilitation organization to highlight its work with drug- and alcohol-addicted criminals.

      Obama will meet with several Intergrity House clients trying to kick their addictions and change their lives, said Robert J. Budsock, Integrity House’s chief executive officer.

      For more:

    • What You Should Know About The Federal Inmate Release


      Thousands of federal inmates are getting out of prison because of a change in the way the U.S. government sentences drug criminals. It’s part of a broader movement to reconsider tough-on-crime laws that were passed during the War on Drugs.

      The decision to change sentencing guidelines — and apply the changes retroactively — was made last year, but the release of any inmates was delayed until this weekend.

      Leaders at the Justice Department supported the changes. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates recently told Congress it’s a myth that federal prisons only house the worst of the worst. When it comes to drug offenses, Yates said, only 16 percent of federal prison inmates used a weapon in connection with their crime.

      Here is what else to know about the release, which began Friday and continues Monday:

      How many people are we talking about?

      About 6,100 prisoners total — mostly Hispanic and African-American men incarcerated for drug trafficking crimes.

      Why are they getting out?

      Last year the U.S. sentencing commission, which sets guidelines for federal crimes, decided to cut suggested prison terms for those who commit drug trafficking crimes, and apply those changes retroactively for people who were already incarcerated.

      An inmate who was eligible had to apply for early release and have a judge review the case, make a determination about public safety and sign off on reducing the sentence. Judges shaved off an average of two years from their sentences.

      Will they all be released straight from prison?

      No. About 4,300 of the total (6,100) are being released from prison, from halfway houses or from home confinement. Of those 4,300, about 80 percent have been living in halfway houses or home confinement for the past few months, to ease their transition back into the community – so they will not go straight from prison to freedom.

      Where will they be going back to? What supervision or support will they receive?

      The largest numbers are from Texas, Florida, California, North Carolina and Illinois.

      The U.S. Probation Office will be watching these prisoners for a specific amount of time, and have been preparing for more than a year. Officials say they have beefed up hiring of probation officers — devoting resources to prisoners who pose the biggest risk — and started working with them a while ago.

      The system is not perfect. Halfway houses are overstuffed, and there was not a lot more money to help smooth out this transition. In addition, there are still open questions about the quality of services they’re getting in halfway houses, in terms of things like drug treatment, job placement.

      What about the rest of the 6,100?

      About 1,700 of the inmates are undocumented immigrants, and they will not be released from federal custody.

      These people will be transferred to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, which will begin deportation proceedings against many of them.

      Some of them may be on the hook for state or local crimes, so officials are checking their records to see if they need to be adjudicated for those crimes.

      Some in Congress, such as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, are already asking questions about the undocumented inmates, seeking assurances they will be quickly removed from the country.

      For the entire article and auio interview:

    • President Obama visits the rehabilitation organization Integrity House
      Integrity House, Newark, New Jersey

      Published on Nov 2, 2015

    • 3:15 PM ET
      President Obama convenes a roundtable discussion on prison reform
      Rutgers University Richard Rodgers Theatre, Newark, New Jersey

    • November 02, 2015

      Remarks by the President on Criminal Justice Reform

      Rutgers University Center for Law and Justice Building
      Newark, New Jersey

      4:15 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, everybody. It is good to be in Newark. (Applause.) Let me, first of all, thank your chancellor, Nancy Cantor, for hosting us here today. Where’s Nancy? (Applause.) There she is. Your Mayor, Ras Baraka, is here. (Applause.) Your Senator, Cory Booker, is in the house. (Applause.) Where did Cory go? There he is, right here. Your Congressman, Donald Payne, Jr. (Applause.)

      Over the course of this year, I’ve been talking to people all across the country about reforming our criminal justice system to be fairer, to be smarter, to be more effective. I’ve met with police chiefs and beat cops. I’ve met with prisoners, corrections officers. I’ve met with families of fallen police officers and families of children who were killed by gun violence. I’ve met with men and women battling drug abuse, and rehab coaches, and folks working on new solutions for treatment.

      And I have to tell you that from all these conversations, I have, at times, despaired about the magnitude of the problem. I’ve asked myself, how do we break the cycle that has young children somehow on that pipeline where they end up incarcerated? And yet, what’s interesting is I’ve been really hopeful, as well, during the course of this year because what I’ve seen is that there are people across the board — folks who work inside the criminal justice system, folks who are affected by the criminal justice system — who are saying, there’s got to be a better way to do this, and are not just asking questions about how we make the system smarter and more effective but are also showing us how it’s done and are actually implementing it.

      For more:

  3. Let Girls Learn – Addressing the global crisis in girls’ education requires not just investment, but challenging cultural beliefs and practices.

    11/2/15 Michelle Obama – theAtlantic

    Right now, 62 million girls worldwide are not in school. They’re receiving no formal education at all—no reading, no writing, no math—none of the basic skills they need to provide for themselves and their families, and contribute fully to their countries.

    Often, understandably, this issue is framed as a matter of resources—a failure to invest enough money in educating girls. We can solve this problem, the argument goes, if we provide more scholarships for girls so they can afford school fees, uniforms, and supplies; and if we provide safe transportation so their parents don’t have to worry that they’ll be sexually assaulted on their way to or from school; and if we build adequate school bathrooms for girls so they don’t have to stay home when they have their periods, and then fall behind and wind up dropping out.

    And it’s true that investments like these are critical for addressing our global girls’ education crisis. That’s why, last spring, the president and I launched Let Girls Learn, a new initiative to fund community girls’ education projects like girls’ leadership camps and school bathrooms; educate girls in conflict zones; and address poverty, HIV, and other issues that keep girls out of school.

    For more:

  4. U.S. Consumer Spending Up in October, at $92

    NOVEMBER 2, 2015 by Justin McCarthy – gallup

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans' daily self-reports of spending averaged $92 in October, up $4 from September. This is just above the $81 to $91 range seen since January 2015.

    Compared with Octobers in prior years, last month's $92 average is similar to readings from 2008 ($91), 2013 ($88) and 2014, but it is significantly higher than the October averages in 2009-2012, which ranged from $63 to $72.

    For more:

  5. US construction spending rises 0.6 percent in September

    11/2/15 By PAUL WISEMAN – Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending rose 0.6 percent in September to the highest level since March 2008, pushed up by a surge in apartment building.

    The Commerce Department said Monday that spending on construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.09 trillion. Construction of apartments and condominiums jumped 4.9 percent in September from August, while construction of single-family homes rose 1.3 percent. Overall, private residential construction rose to the highest level since January 2008.

    The housing market has proven relatively resilient this year amid economic weakness overseas that has hurt American manufacturers and limited hiring. Commerce reported last week that private investment in housing grew at an annual pace of 6.1 percent from July through September — four times the 1.5 percent growth registered by the overall economy.

    For more:

  6. US manufacturing sector picks up pace in October

    LONDON (ShareCast) – (ShareCast News) – The US manufacturing sector expanded at a slightly faster pace than expected in October to reach a six-month high, data released on Monday showed. Markit (NasdaqGS: MRKT – news) ‘s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose from 54 in September to 54.1 last month, slightly above the flash reading of 54 that was initially reported.

    The increase in the headline index was driven by an expansion in new orders and output, both of which grew at their fastest pace since March, while new export sales grew at a more subdued pace in the period, as the strength of the US dollar remained a headwind to growth.

    However, the latest increase in new work from abroad marked the fastest gain since September 2014 and the third increase in the last four months.

    Greater workloads placed pressure on operating capacity and contributed to another accumulation of unfinished work across the manufacturing sector in October, Markit added.

    This in turn contributed to a rebound in employment growth from the 27-month low recorded during September, although manufacturers remained relatively cautious in terms of inventories of finished goods.

    “Stronger manufacturing growth in October brings encouraging news after the sector saw the pace of expansion slump to a two-year low in the third quarter,” said Markit’s chief economist Chris Williamson.

    For more:

  7. November 02, 2015

    Remarks by the President at Signing of the Budget Act of 2015

    Oval Office

    11:50 A.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, last week, Democrats and Republicans came together to set up a responsible, long-term budget process, and what we now see is a budget that reflects our values, that grows our economy, creates jobs, keeps America safe.

    It’s going to strengthen the middle class by investing in critical areas like education and job training and basic research. It keeps us safe by investing in our national security and making sure that our troops get what they need in order to keep us safe and perform all the outstanding duties that they do around the world. It protects our seniors by avoiding harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security. And it’s paid for in a responsible, balanced way — in part, for example, by making sure that large hedge funds and private equity firms pay what they owe in taxes just like everybody else.

    And by locking in two years of funding, it should finally free us from the cycle of shutdown threats and last-minute fixes. It allows us to, therefore, plan for the future.

    So I very much appreciate the work that the Democratic and Republican leaders did to get this to my desk. I think it is a signal of how Washington should work. And my hope is now that they build on this agreement with spending bills that also invest in America’s priorities without getting sidetracked by a whole bunch of ideological issues that have nothing to do with our budget.

    So this is just the first step between now and the middle of December, before the Christmas break. The appropriators are going to have to do their job; they’re going to have to come up with spending bills. But this provides them the guidepost and the baseline with which to do that.

    For more:

  8. November 02, 2015

    Remarks by the President at DCCC Dinner

    Private Residence
    New York, New York

    6:44 P.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is wonderful to be with all of you. Because this is a smaller setting my remarks at the top are going to be very brief because I want to spend most of the time in conversations. There are a number of people I want to acknowledge, obviously starting with Jonathan and Jennifer, who are so gracious. (Applause.) Jonathan is being a little shy. The truth is that I think Jonathan and his family were one of the first fundraisers I ever held in New York City. I’ve had a lot since then. (Laughter.) But they were early angel investors, and I could not be more appreciative of everything that they’ve done for me throughout my national political career.

    There are a number of other people obviously I want to acknowledge, starting with somebody who is as tough and as clear-thinking and been the best partner anybody could hope for in helping to move the country forward, and that is our leader, Nancy Pelosi. (Applause.)

    I also want to acknowledge a number of other members of Congress who are here — those of you who have not had a chance to meet Ben Ray Luhan, he is doing outstanding work each and every day in the thankless job of being out DCCC — (applause.) Somebody who slipped the noose and was doing it before and is not anymore — (laughter) — Steve Israel. (Applause.) A couple of outstanding members of Congress and part of your delegation — Carolyn Maloney. (Applause.) And Jerry Nadler. (Applause.) I want to single out Jerry for his courage and tenacity and being willing to take some really tough votes, including our most recent push on appropriations — (applause.)

    For more:

  9. November 03, 2015

    Remarks by the President at DNC Event

    Richard Rodgers Theatre
    New York, New York

    8:10 P.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: What did I miss? (Laughter.) What did I miss? It’s good to see all of you. Hello, New York! (Applause.) I am annoyed that I did not get to see this show again. Michelle and I love this show. (Applause.) It also happens to be the only thing that I think Dick Cheney and I agree on — (laughter) — is that this is a great show. You know when you’ve brought Barack Obama and Dick Cheney together that you’ve accomplished something. That is a cultural landmark. (Laughter and applause.)

    Please give it up for Lin-Manuel Miranda and the entire cast. We love you! (Applause.) Jeffrey Sellers and the producers — give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) Margo Lion for always bringing me to Broadway. (Applause.) Our DNC treasurer, Andy Tobias. (Applause.) Yay, Andy! And to all of you, thank you so much for being here — although this one is easy. (Laughter.) I mean, you write a check and you listen to some boring politician talking — now, that’s commitment. Coming to this show — you don’t get special props for this. (Laughter.) But I love you anyway. We’ve got so many great friends and supporters here.

    It is always good to be back in the city. I know there may be some Mets fans here tonight, and I just want you to know you should still be proud of a great season. (Applause.) If you’re not happy, Josh Earnest, my Press Secretary, is a big Royals fan, so you can take it up with him. (Laughter.)

    For more:

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