Today you heard from a former inmate who is having trouble finding work.
He did everything that we tell inmates to do: he got an education, he advanced up the job ladder. We need to focus on making sure that businesses recognize the value of the work he’s done.
How confident are you that the momentum that exists on criminal-justice reform will continue in, say, a Trump Administration?
They’ll work that out for themselves, whoever is in the White House. The goal is to have these issues be recognized and to seize this moment when there’s bipartisan support but there’s also uniformity of thought. There’s a human cost and a financial cost to not helping former inmates find work. We hope that the practicality and the success of these programs will live on long after this Administration.
North Carolina has come under fire over HB 2, the state law requiring transgender people–and others–to use public restrooms based on their birth sex. Is the Justice Department considering pulling federal money from the state in response?
The North Carolina legislature came back this week considering a lot of options about the bill. So right now we’re monitoring that situation.
Do you see the public response as a symbol of a country trying to figure out what justice means?
I think it’s a symbol of the fact that a lot of people find change difficult. It’s my hope that we can move beyond that, and–as we protect the most vulnerable members of our society, the elderly, children, human-trafficking victims–we focus on the fact that transgender individuals are often victimized. They’re often discriminated against. If we’re going to move toward a fair and more inclusive country, we have to protect their rights, as well.
This appears in the May 16, 2016 issue of TIME.
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