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Senator tells SBA to make loans available to those 'affected by criminal justice system'

Senator Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, and Senator Cory Booker, Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee, urge the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide criminal records to entrepreneurs.

Senator urges SBA to provide more access to loans

In a letter to SBA administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, two senators urge the SBA to let criminal justice-influenced entrepreneurs Easier Access to Its Core Lending Program and Entrepreneurship Development Services

The letter follows Cardan’s hearing last month to examine how the federal government is using entrepreneurial Strength helps citizens and those affected by the justice system successfully re-enter their communities.

Specifically, Senators are asking the SBA to:

    Open 7(a) Graph of people with similar 504 loan PR criminal records and recent changes to the Community Advantage Program

  • Assessing “Good Character” Criteria for Participation Affecting Judicially Influenced Entrepreneurs in SBA Loan and Contract Programs
  • Directs the Office of Entrepreneurship Development to develop specific plan to be available in every state

“In view of the impact of entrepreneurship on individuals affected by justice and returning citizens, it is important that we ensure they have access to SBA programs. Opening up these programs is in line with SBA’s mission of ‘aid, counsel and assist’ small businesses and the agency’s longstanding commitment to reaching underserved entrepreneurs mission,” the senators said in the letter.

Why Senators are pushing for more opportunities for ex-convicts

The US prison population has seen a more than 450% increase over the past 50 years, with 2 million people currently incarcerated in federal and local prisons. Between 7-100 million Americans, or as many as one-third of Americans participate in the justice system, and people of color are disproportionately represented in these statistics.

600,000 people are released from prison each year; two-thirds of them are re-arrested within three years, and about half are re-imprisoned. One of the biggest challenges people face after reintegration is finding a stable career after release. About 27 percent of ex-offenders are unemployed – nine times the national average.

In terms of business ex-offenders, the Senators cited research showing that only 18.61 percent of returning citizens started their own businesses, compared to 11.48 percent of businesses with no criminal records. Additionally, as many as 1.7 employees in the U.S. workforce are affiliated with businesses owned by persons with criminal records.

The study also found that returning citizen entrepreneurs earn 11.4% more per hour than returning citizen entrepreneurs Traditionally employed citizens and entrepreneurship reduce the likelihood of recidivism by 5.3% . This is 32.5% lower than the recidivism rate for returning citizens in traditional employment.

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