From: John Stanton [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, November 02, 2015 4:40 PM
To: Gabriel, Brian; Velz, Peter
Subject: pool report 8
Obama gave brief remarks at Rutger's Center for Law and Justice.
Obama began his remarks at Rutgers shortly after 415, in which he discussed criminal justice and two new federal initiatives he announced today. according to Ben Garnecki, Rutger's Fire Inspector Bureau Manager, there were 226 people in attendance.
“I have to tell you, from all these conversations, I have at times despaired about the magnitude of the problem. I’ve asked myself how do we break the cycle that has young children somehow on the pipeline where they somehow end up incarcerated.”
“And yet, what’s really interesting is I’ve been really hopeful … because what I’ve seen is that there’s people across the board, folks who work within the criminal justice system, folks who are effected by the criminal justice system, who are saying, ‘there’s got to be a better way to do this.’”
“Here in Newark … you’ve got organizations that are doing extraordinary work. And that’s why I wanted to focus here today. Because places like Integrity House … are accomplishing extraordinary things. “
When you meet recovering addicts and former inmates working to better themselves “You cannot help but feel hopeful about the future.”
Obama decried the effect having a criminal record can have on former inmates. “A lot of time, that record disqualifies you from fully participating in our society. Even if you’ve paid you debt to society … That is bad not only for the individual, it’s bad fort economy,” and argued “We’ve got to make sure that Americans who have paid their debt to society receive a second chance.”
As part of that second chance, Obama announced at the event a new “ban the box” initiative eliminating the requirement that federal job applications include a criminal record “box” that applicants must check if they have a criminal record. “The federal government should not use criminal record to screen out applicants,” Obama said.
I have to say that although this is something I can do on an executive basis, this is something that Sen. Cory Booker is working with his Republican colleague Sen. Ron Johnson” on.
While knowing whether applicants have a criminal record can be important to employers when making decisions, “When it comes to the application, give folks a chance to get through the door,” Obama said.
Obama also announced a new set of grants to help “returning citizens seize that second chance,” explaining that “Five cities are announcing commitments of their own … and we’re going to be partnering with them and others to ensure the good work we saw here today can expand.”
“Its no where near what we need” but is needed to create new pilot programs, Obama added.
Obama went off script for a bit to tell the story of Dquan Rosario, following a stint in prison, at 37 he went back to school and with the help of local officials and activists he is not an EMT in Newark. “Instead of peddling drugs, he’s helping save people’s lives,” Obama said.
“Here you’ve got a situation where officers of the court, judges, probation off., ASA, pastors, community leaders, business leaders are all coming together to say, what is the problem we’re trying to solve here … the problem we’re trying to solve here is to give people a foundation through which they can become productive citizens,” Obama explained.
“We’re a lot better off at catching Dquan at five, or 12, or 18 than 37 … but Dquan’s story … is that it’s not too late. There are people who have gone through tough times. They’ve made mistakes. But with a little bit of help, they can get on the right path. That is what we have to invest in, that is what we need to believe in,” Obama said.
Obama wrapped his remarks around 435 and began shaking hands in the crowd.
DC Bureau Chief