Checkr will bring 30 days of content to increase your understanding of fair chance practices and benefits—and to inspire you to become a fair chance employer.
Every year, over 600,000 people leave state and federal prisons to return to their communities and the workforce. In spite of having done their time and putting in the effort to be a positive benefactor to society, so many face formidable challenges as they navigate the rebuilding of their lives.
Today is the first day of Fair Chance Month, also commonly known as Second Chance Month. April is a time to recognize the barriers that obstruct fairness and progress and collectively work on building a fairer future for all.
Fair Chance Month history
Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit working to bring hope and restoration to individuals, families, and communities impacted by crime and incarceration, launched the first Second Chance Month in 2017 and has since spearheaded the nationwide effort to “…raise awareness about these barriers and unlock brighter futures for people with a criminal record.”
The initiative received the congressional stamp of approval when the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring April 2017 as Second Chance Month. In March of 2018, The White House issued its first proclamation recognizing April as Second Chance Month, and it has been acknowledged as such every year since.
According to President Biden’s most recent statement on the commemoration, “During Second Chance Month, we lift up all those who, having made mistakes, are committed to rejoining society and making meaningful contributions … I call upon all government officials, educators, volunteers, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.”
April also marks the anniversary of the federal Second Chance Act; this act was signed into law in 2008 and supports state, local and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals.
To that end, Fair Chance Month is celebrated and honored in a variety of ways. The National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) partners with the American Institutes for Research, Vera Institute of Justice, CSG Justice Center, RTI International, and more to provide resources, videos, podcasts, live learning events and webinars during the month of April. More than 600 congregations, companies and organizations have also become official partners in celebrating Fair Chance Month, pledging their support and offering opportunities to those facing barriers based on their past.
“Fair Chance Month” vs. “Second Chance Month”: what’s the difference?
While the month is commonly referred to as Second Chance Month, at Checkr, we prefer to use the phrase “Fair Chance Month.” Why? When you hear “second chance,” it implies that there was a “first chance”. However, people with criminal records often are not given a first chance, let alone a second chance at successful reentry, facing legal barriers and significant stigmas surrounding justice-impacted individuals. What’s more, the phrase “second chance” also implies to employers that these candidates need a “do over” because of negative events that happened in the past.
We believe that all individuals—regardless of race, gender, sexuality or criminal history—deserve a fair chance to contribute positively to society. We also believe that fair chances should not be limited to the number of mistakes that you have made in the past. Everyone is capable of transformation and stifling that growth will only hurt our communities’ safety, well-being and progress. Our company’s mission is to build a fairer future by designing technology to create opportunities for all. At Checkr, we use the verbiage that rings true to that mission.
Learn, celebrate, and grow this April
This month is about changing perceptions, empowering organizations to employ fair chance hiring, and driving momentum for policy change.
Throughout April 2022, Checkr will celebrate Fair Chance Month by amplifying fair chance voices. Follow Checkr on LinkedIn and Twitter to hear inspiring stories of success, understand the power of fair opportunity hiring, and gain insight from a range of individuals who are working to build a fairer future.
We’ve also created an educational hub for anyone who wants to learn more about implementing fair chance hiring at their organization. This hub has resources for everyone—whether you’re just learning about fair chance hiring, trying to implement fair chance hiring practices, or optimizing an existing fair chance program. It is also the place where we will be hosting a range of video content from mission partners and fair chance champions.
We hope you’ll join us on this journey of celebration and education.
Fair Chance Hiring Resource Hub
Explore resources, find ways to engage, and hear stories that celebrate fair chance hiring.