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Closeup: Durbin Talks at Law School About New Job and Housing Measures for Formerly Incarcerated Americans


Julie Biehl, director of the Children and Family Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law (far left), joins U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., (at the podium) who talked about new federal measures announced by President Barack Obama (Nov. 2) to expand opportunities for jobs and housing for freed prisoners.

Through the Juvenile Re-Entry Assistance Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Justice are teaming up to reintegrate formerly incarcerated juveniles into the community.

“The Children and Family Justice Center applauds HUD’s efforts to assist young people in expunging their records,” Biehl said. “Through our representation of young people and policy work, we witness the barriers to housing, education and employment that criminal and juvenile records cause.”

As part of the measures that the president announced last week, HUD will spend $1.7 million on a program that will aid eligible public housing residents who are under the age of 24 to expunge or seal their records in accordance with their applicable state laws. The U.S. Department of Education also has allocated $8 million to teach prisoners skills.

The event also featured, from left: U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Xavier McElrath-Bey and Chris Huff.

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