Rebecca Vallas Discusses Links Between Criminal Records and Poverty

Former Skadden Fellow Rebecca Vallas (’09) participated in a panel discussion on Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC program about employment discrimination faced by ex-offenders when they are released from prison (May 12). Rebecca, who is a staff attorney/policy advocate with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, noted that, in addition to the more visible forms of discrimination these individuals deal with, debt incurred by prisoners can create a staggering barrier to establishing financial security after being released — and in many cases, can force individuals back into prison for failure to pay. “It’s a huge issue and a nationwide trend,” Rebecca says. “[The government] is putting the debt squarely on the backs of people at the precise moment we’re telling them to put their lives back together.”