NEWARK - President Barack Obama visited Newark Monday to call for breaking the "cycle of incarceration" by making it easier for former inmates to successfully re-enter society.
After participating in a roundtable discussion at Rutgers-Newark, the president announced new rules that will prevent federal agencies from quickly screening out job applicants just because they have criminal records.
President Obama says that too many employers dismiss applicants because they've checked a box stating they have a criminal history. Obama says employers should "give folks a chance to get in the door."
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He noted roughly 70 million Americans have some sort of criminal record. He says making sure those people can find jobs, housing and education is good for the economy.
Earlier in the day, the president traveled to Integrity House, a non-profit group in Newark that helps with substance abuse rehabilitation, as well as provides transitional housing and job training for ex-convicts. He met with some of the residents at Integrity House. He said that Integrity House’s program was "a model for the good work that is being done sporadically around the nation" and said his trip was designed in part to "highlight" this work.
The Associated Press Wire Services contributed to this report.