Director, Commonwealth Policy Center
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According to a recent story on NPR, an estimated 60 million Americans have a criminal record. One report estimates that there as many people with criminal records as college diplomas. The majority are misdemeanors, but when nearly one in five citizens has been in trouble with the law, it's never a good sign. Such records hinder future job prospects. Many might say that the criminal should have thought about that before they committed the crime. But at what point do we say "you've paid the consequences, now it's time for you to rejoin society?" There's an effort to decriminalize certain drugs and expungement of criminal records. One thing missing in the conversation is that criminals should correct the wrong they've done to their victims. It's called restorative justice. And when this happens, they'll likely be fully welcomed back into society.