The ACLU-CT believes in a society where all people, including those who have been convicted or accused of a crime, have equal opportunity to contribute to society and build successful and fulfilling lives. Mass incarceration and its collateral consequences hurt each and every one of us by limiting the potential of our communities.

Instead of enabling people living with records, Connecticut law makes life much harder for them. Of the over 550 barriers to full civic participation that are written into our state’s law, the large majority are related to employment. These barriers are not relics from the distant past. New barriers are passed out of the legislature nearly every year. 

The employment barriers faced by people with criminal records have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies that help find employment for people with records report that, compared to 2019, only half as many job seekers with records were able to find placements. 

These harmful employment effects are not distributed equally across society. Racial disparities in Connecticut’s criminal justice system are also replicated when people return home from incarceration. Because Black and Latino men are disproportionately incarcerated, they are likewise disproportionately rejected when they return to the community and seek to build a life worth living. Poor chances of employment or stable housing likely have a resulting outsized impact on Black and brown people.

House Bill 6474 would mandate that all employers, not just the state, use an individualized assessment process when evaluating job applicants with criminal records. Rather than using a whack-a-mole approach toward ending 550-plus collateral consequences one at a time, Connecticut should take a proactive, bold step by passing this individual assessment anti-discrimination bill. House Bill 6474 is the opportunity for Connecticut to require employers to make an employment determination based on a person, not on a background check result.





Bill number

H.B. 6474