Criminal Justice Reform

Smart Justice (also known as Fair Chance Hiring, Re-entry Employment, and Second Chance Hiring)

A growing number of chambers are championing Criminal Justice Reform efforts that reduce crime, improve public safety, develop the workforce pipeline, and build thriving and inclusive regional economies. Smart Justice addresses criminal justice issues holistically by examining the connections between crime and opportunities for education, employment, mental health and addiction support, housing and social inclusion. Chambers are uniquely positioned to build cross-sector coalitions that address key issues such as corrections reform, diversion and prevention, sentencing reform, justice reinvestment, education, and employment.

ACCE Resources

  • Chambers Get Smart on Justice - Chamber Executive magazine (Spring 2016). Learn why and how chambers are addressing smart justice.
  • ACCE QuickPoll: Smart Justice and Fair Chance Hiring - This June 2017 survey was designed to help gain understanding in chamber involvement in smart justice reform efforts, including engaging businesses in fair chance hiring (i.e., open and fair hiring practices that expand employment opportunities for individuals with criminal records and help them contribute to the local economy).

Sentencing Reform

Sentencing and corrections reform has not been a traditional business issue, but in many states spending on corrections is one of the top line expenses. As stewards of taxpayer dollars, state and local governments must take a critical look at all spending and reevaluate the return on investment. Several states, including Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, and Arkansas, have passed sentencing and corrections reform in recent years to curb costs and maintain public safety.

Prevention & Diversion

  • Restorative Justice in U.S. Schools - Report by the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center which shows how restorative justice practices are implemented in schools, and lay the groundwork for future research, implementation, and policy.

Rehabilitation: In-Custody Education & Job Training

Reentry & Employment

Approximately 95% of incarcerated individuals will return home to our communities. Policies and programming that support reentry include:

Please email to learn more about chamber-led Smart Justice opportunities.

To highlight your organization's work, please submit a sample here. For more information about the Education Attainment Division, visit or email

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Page Created: 10/2/2017
Last Updated: 11/9/2017