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(1) The City Council of the City of Philadelphia finds that:
(a) Persons with juvenile and criminal records suffer from pervasive discrimination in many areas of life – employment, housing, education, and eligibility for many forms of social benefits; and 1187
(b) As of 1999, more than 71 million people nationwide had criminal records and are reported to experience lifelong discrimination because of their past convictions, and Pennsylvania has a higher corrections population than all but eight states, resulting in large numbers of people whose backgrounds include past criminal convictions and/or imprisonment; and
(c) It is estimated that approximately one-fifth of Philadelphia's population has some type of Criminal Record.
(d) Nearly 3200 people are released from the Philadelphia Prison System annually and it holds an average daily population of 8500 people – each one released burdened by and shadowed with a criminal record of some type; and
(e) The percentage of people of color convicted and incarcerated nationwide exceeds the percentage of their representation in the population as a whole, which disproportionately impacts their lives, families and communities; and
(f) Criminal background checks, which often include juvenile records, by employers have increased at a record rate, with a vast majority of employers in the U.S. now screening their workers for criminal records; and 1188
(g) Formerly-incarcerated people represent a group of job-seekers, ready to contribute and add to the work force; and
(h) Lack of employment is a significant cause of recidivism; people who are employed are significantly less likely to be re-arrested; and
(i) Obstacles to employment for people with juvenile and criminal records and other barriers to re-entry are creating permanent members of an underclass that threatens the health of the community and undermines public safety. 1189
(j) This legislation concerns a sensitive and highly controversial subject, and should not be construed to require an employer to hire someone with a criminal record, nor to limit an employers ability to choose the most qualified and appropriate applicant for the employment opportunity at hand.
(k) This legislation is intended to give the individual with a criminal record an opportunity to be judged on his or her own merit during the submission of the application and at least until the completion of one interview.
(2) It is the intent and purpose of this Chapter:
(a) to assist the successful reintegration of formerly-incarcerated people back into the community by removing barriers to gainful employment after their release from prison;
(b) to enhance the health and security of the community by assisting people with criminal records to provide for their families and themselves; and
(c) to ensure that, within the City of Philadelphia, just and fair measures are implemented and practiced when screening and identifying persons who may or may not have juvenile or criminal records; and 1190
(d) to ensure that, in accordance with Pennsylvania law, persons with juvenile records may be considered for employment based on their own merit and qualifications, and their juvenile records may not create barriers to employment. 1191
Added, Bill No. 180368 (approved June 20, 2018).