Creating second chances by removing barriers to successful reentry
Forward Justice works strategically and collaboratively with the NC Second Chance Alliance, a statewide network working for progressive reentry reform, and the NC Fines & Fees Coalition to decriminalize poverty and remove barriers to successful reentry for people who have been caught in the criminal legal system.
here's what we're doing:
We know that the best people to transform the system are those who are directly impacted by it.
Our goal and purpose is to build grassroot campaigns, through community education and organizing, public policy advocacy, and strategic communications. Through these campaigns, we provide platforms and opportunities for directly impacted people to share their stories and speak truth to power to challenge and change narratives about the criminal legal system, the people it disproportionately impacts, and the often-unseen collateral costs associated with being entangled in it. Some of our work areas include:
The North Carolina Second Chance Alliance
The NC Second Chance Alliance is a statewide alliance of people with criminal records, their family members, service providers, congregations, community leaders and concerned citizens that have come together to address the causes of criminal records and the barriers they create to successful reentry.
Forward Justice is a founding member of the Second Chance Alliance, because we believe that it takes bold, collective action to create change. Through our work with the Alliance, we have advocated for legislation like the ‘Second Chance Act’ (NC Senate bill 562) that expands eligibility for expungement, as well as access to expungement through automation practices, thereby removing barriers to reentry.
Second Chance Lobby Day
On May 7th 2019, we stood with 1,000+ directly impacted community members at the General Assembly to share stories with lawmakers and advocate for legislation that supports second chances for people impacted by the criminal legal system. The day after our demonstration, the Second Chance Act (Senate Bill 562) Passed the Senate unanimously.
NC Second Chance Alliance Chapters
The NC Second Chance Alliance supports chapters across the state as they work towards transforming the criminal legal system through community education, organizing and advocacy. The Chapters are led by directly impacted people and community members who are passionate about criminal legal reform . Forward Justice provides support for each chapter and their organizers to empower people to be agents of change in their communities. The NC Second Chance Alliance has chapters in the following locations:
- New Hanover County
- Pitt County
- Washington/Tyrell/Hyde counties
- Wake County
Update: The Second Chance Act has been signed into law
After months of organizing, advocacy, and having 1,000+ community members take to the capitol in 2019, the Second Chance Act (SB 562) was signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper on June 25th 2020.
The Second Chance Act is a bipartisan “clean slate” bill that expands eligibility for expunging nonviolent criminal convictions after a waiting period, and automates expungement of certain dismissed or “not guilty” charges. These changes will allow expanded access to employment and housing opportunities for North Carolinians with criminal records. Learn more here
StoriesView All Stories
Stories from the Second Chance Alliance chapters
The official launch of the “Clean Slate Campaign” took place on May 7, 2019 at the bi- annual Second Chance Advocacy Day, which has occurred since 2011, and is anchored by Forward Justice, Community Success Initiative, North Carolina Justice Center and other Second Chance Alliance (SCA) members.