HomeColumbiaColumbia hosts Second Chance Month panel on Saturday, April 27, to empower...

Columbia hosts Second Chance Month panel on Saturday, April 27, to empower returning citizens

Columbia, South Carolina – The City of Columbia is set to host a panel discussion and resource fair to observe Second Chance Month. This event is designed to support individuals reintegrating into society after incarceration. It will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2744 Decker Blvd., Columbia, SC.

The event is organized by the City of Columbia’s Office of Violent Crime Prevention, Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, and the South Carolina Commission on Minority Affairs. Its goal is to have discussions about the problems these people face and give them useful tips for getting back into society.

The most important part of the day will be a panel conversation with people who have been through problems with reintegration firsthand. The panelists will talk about their own experiences, focused on the problems they’ve solved and the steps they’ve taken to successfully return to the community. This part of the program is meant to inspire and teach guests something useful.

After the panel discussion, there will be a community resource fair with booths and speeches from different service providers. These groups are experts at giving people in the re-entry process the help and tools they need. There will be several types of services offered including job training, educational possibilities, legal help, and more, all of which are meant to help people rebuild their lives and reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

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This event is open and free to the public, emphasizing the community’s inclusive approach to supporting individuals in need of a second chance. Online registration is required for anyone who wants to attend this inspiring event.

For more information and to register for the Second Chance Panel and Community Resource Fair, please visit the official website at https://forms.columbiasc.gov/240876793527976.

Second Chance Month was first introduced in 2017

In 2017, April was officially recognized as Second Chance Month across the United States. This observance was created to shed light on the difficulties that individuals face after a criminal conviction and to promote their successful reintegration into society. Second Chance Month is driven by the work of Prison Fellowship, America’s leading nonprofit dedicated to serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families. They are also strong advocates for reforms in justice. The month features various activities aimed at increasing public understanding and encouraging businesses to hire individuals looking for a new start after serving their sentence.

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City of Columbia involvement

The City of Columbia has also taken steps to support individuals with past convictions by partnering with organizations focused on helping these individuals reintegrate. In 2019, Columbia introduced a “Ban the Box” Ordinance, which helps those with a criminal record to find employment more easily. This ordinance stops employers from asking about criminal histories until after they make a conditional job offer in writing.

Additionally, the law restricts background checks to positions where they are legally necessary. Before conducting such checks, employers must issue a conditional offer and a Notice of Rights to the applicant. Job postings must clearly state if a background check is required. Employers are only allowed to consider convictions relevant to the job and must follow specific legal guidelines when reviewing such information.

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Information about the Ordinance can be accessed by clicking here: https://library.municode.com/sc/columbia/ordinances/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=985248

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