American Family urges Wisconsin legislature to pass expungement bill
Greater employment opportunity for those formerly incarcerated supports families, communities
The stigma of having a criminal record, even for low-level, non-violent offenses, can significantly limit employment and career opportunities for individuals. In some cases, a criminal record prevents a person from gaining licensing required for certain professions. This impediment to long-term, stable employment disproportionately affects people of color and has a direct effect on families and communities.
Because of its potential to make it easier for justice-involved people to secure stable, higher paying jobs, American Family Insurance supports passage of Wisconsin Senate Bill 78/Assembly Bill 69, Pathway to Employment. The bill makes the expungement of non-violent crimes easier and accessible to more people.
“Having a record often limits the number and type of jobs a justice-involved person feels they can apply for – regardless of their qualifications for the job,” said Nyra Jordan, a director at the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. “Having low-level offenses expunged can open up opportunity that helps bring about stability and reduces recidivism.”
Among other things, the Pathway to Employment bill removes the requirement that an expungement determination must be made at the time of sentencing. It also does away with the current age limit for eligibility of 25 or under.
American Family has demonstrated ongoing support for justice-involved individuals and families and criminal-justice related efforts that reduce recidivism and make communities stronger. The Institute makes investments in social impact startups and partners with community organizations that share the same passion.
“We’re committed to offering a fair chance to anyone who wishes to have a career at American Family Insurance, including those who have been justice-involved,” said Jordan. “We hope this bill makes it easier for these individuals to find stable employment no matter where they wish to work in Wisconsin.”
American Family is continuing to partner to create opportunities for people who have been justice-involved. The company is working with Clean Slate Milwaukee, a re-entry resource hub that assists those departing the justice system find jobs and have their records expunged. As part of its hiring efforts, American Family also works with JustDane as a recruitment partner.
About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 254 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.
About the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact
The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact is a venture capital firm and partner of choice for exceptional entrepreneurs who are building scalable, sustainable businesses in a long-term effort to close equity gaps in America. It also recognizes that capacity building and supporting organizations and experts that have been working toward social causes are equally important in making a positive impact within our communities around the country.
Free to Dream
These partnerships are part of the Free to Dream initiative announced Feb. 23, 2021. American Family has pledged $105 million over the next five years to further its already deep commitment to closing racial equity gaps and affecting social impact and positive change in communities across the country. Free to Dream focuses investments on five societal issues: Economic empowerment; education and health equity; climate resilience; criminal justice reform; and workforce diversity, equity and inclusion.