Utah: Make a difference

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Consensus Statement on Smart Second Chances

AT THE CORE of what it means to be human are two traits we all share: we make mistakes, and we can change.

WE RECOGNIZE that many former prisoners who do want to change will fail, hampered by addictions, scars from abuse or mental challenges. Some will have no interest in rebuilding their lives–or will not yet be ready. Employers and citizens ought to use care and discretion in such cases.

BUT WE KNOW that many do change. And we know that beneath the tattered surface of many former offenders are genuinely thoughtful and charitable individuals. We can’t always predict who will change, but we know many more will do so if they enjoy social support.

AMERICANS ARE a generous people, many of whom place redemption and second chances at the core of their belief systems. But we can do a better job of translating these ideals into action.

WE CHALLENGE ourselves, our neighbors, employers and policymakers to thoughtfully respond to others based on who they are now and where they are headed, not where they have been.

WE PROMISE to do what we can to help others realize their potential, looking beyond the past when dealing with those who have changed or are changing their lives.