Birth Certificate no longer required to obtain PA Photo IDs

on Thursday - June 14, 2012.

As part of Pennsylvania's new voter ID law, state officials have simplified the process of applying for a state photo ID.  Pennsylvania-born residents no longer have to submit their birth certificate in order to get a state photo ID. They can simply go to PennDOT and give their personal information and then PennDOT will cross-check that information with the PA Department of Health's birth certificate records. This process may take about a week. Once PennDOT confirms with PA Department of Health that a person's birth records are in the state system, the person will be notified to return to PennDOT with their Social Security card and two forms of proof of residence (such as a utility bill, lease agreement, etc) in order to obtain their state photo ID.  State officials estimate that the whole process to get a state-issued photo ID should now be about 10 days. For a recent news article on the simplified process, see:


Criminal Records, Hiring Decisions and "Redemption"

on Tuesday - June 12, 2012.

In the age of widely available electronic data and Internet background checks, it can be challenging for an employer to know what data is accurate and whether someone's criminal past represents a current risk.  The new EEOC ruling on hiring and employment practices related to criminal records will require employers to think more critically about what data they use and how they use it when it comes to criminal records.  

Recent research by one of the most prominent criminologists in the United States, Alfred Blumstein, Ph.D., may help employers concerned about hiring people with criminal records to make more informed decisions about when someone with a record may be considered no longer a risk, based on how long ago their criminal activity occurred. 

Reentry "Mythbusters" from Federal Interagency Reentry Council

on Friday - June 01, 2012.

The Federal Interagency Reentry Council is a collaborative network of 20 federal agencies working to "make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; assist those who return from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration." 

The group was first established in January 2011, and is chaired by Attorney General Eric Holder.

One of the group's first efforts was to assemble a set of "Reentry Mythbusters", described as:

"fact sheets, designed to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in areas such as public housing, access to benefits, parental rights, employer incentives, Medicaid suspension/termination, and more."

The full set of "Reentry Mythbusters" is available HERE.

WEBINAR: Understanding the EEOC's New Criminal Records Guidance: Education and Enforcement Opportunities

on Monday - May 21, 2012.

On Wed, May 30, 2012, from 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM EDT, an important webinar for advocates, workers, employers, workforce development specialists and policy makers will offer critical information on how to apply the new EEOC policy to their daily decisions when navigating criminal records for employment.

In addition to detailing the key elements of the new EEOC guidance, the webinar will highlight best practices for employers, helpful implementation strategies for worker advocates, and key considerations for state and local policymakers to explore.

To register, go to:

EEOC issues new rules for employers' use of criminal records in employment decisions

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Friday - May 18, 2012.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new rules for how employers may use information about criminal records of applicants and employees when making employment decisions. The EEOC's new "enforcement guidance" document indicates that blanket employment policies that automatically exclude anyone with a criminal record violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Employers can continue to conduct criminal background checks, but the new EEOC guidance document spells out important differences between arrest records and conviction records, how employers need to consider each, and urges employers to establish policies based on individual assessment and consideration rather than blanket policies.

A press release summarizing the new EEOC rules is here:

A Q&A document from the EEOC on the new guidance is here:

And the full Enforcement Guidance document is here: