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    Office Of The Mayor

    Project Fresh Start

    Project Fresh Start Office Tel: (203) 946-7821
    E-mail: NHFreshStart1@newhavenct.net


    The City of New Haven Project Fresh Start Reentry Program facilitates the coordination of community partners, state agencies and other reentry stakeholders for the purpose of creating a citywide, strategic, and systematic delivery of resources that leads to reduced recidivism, increased employment, access to continued education and the long term self-sufficiency of returning citizens.

    The City of New Haven Project Fresh Start Reentry Program will seek to fulfill its objectives through the following:

    • Information sharing among organizations and groups implementing reentry initiatives.
    • Support local efforts in advancing public safety.
    • Utilize proven best practices in serving the formally incarcerated.
    • Community capacity building through grant making, technical assistance, and training.
    • Advocate and inform policy making and systemic reform that promotes the successful reintegration of this population.
    • Inclusion and engagement of formerly incarcerated individuals to inform the planning, implementation and delivery of transitional services.


    (The information on this website is intended to be helpful for those reentering the community after incarceration, but is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation. If you need legal assistance, please call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320 or consult an attorney).

    Please visit our calendar of reentry-related events here


    Hard copies of the Guide are available at New Haven City Hall. To obtain multiple hard copies, please contact the Prison Reentry Initiative in advance with your request.


    • On September 18, 2013, the City of New Haven Prison Reentry Initiative hosted the first in a series of symposium designed to create dialogue about best practices in reentry services. This symposium included presentations from Diane Williams, President/CEO, Safer Foundation; Ethel Muhammad, COO, Safer Foundation; Glenn Martin, Vice President of Public Affairs, Fortune Society; David D'Amora, Division Director, National Initiatives, Council of State Governments Justice Center; Dr. Emily Wang, Co-Founder/Director, Transitions Clinic; and Dan Jusino, Executive Director, EMERGE Connecticut. To continue the conversation on best practices, please find for your reference digital copies of the presentations made by the speakers
    • DAmora_David presentation
    • Wang_Emily presentation
    • Williams_Diane presentation


    Looking for work after a felony conviction? Make sure your potential employer knows about these programs!

    Work Opportunity Tax Credit
    Provides a tax credit to employers who hire individuals with felony convictions. Earn a Federal tax credit per qualified individual hired through the WOTC administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Services (ES) Operations Tax Credit Unit. It's easy: there is no limit on the number of people you can hire under this program, and only minimal paperwork must be filed to claim a tax credit.

    Federal Bonding Program
    (NOTE: The Federal Bonding Program is not currently available through the Connecticut Department of Labor.) The Federal Bonding Program was created by U.S. Department of Labor in 1966 as an incentive to employers to hire job seekers who were “At Risk” and formerly classified as “Not Bondable” by commercial carriers, including people with conviction records. The bond is given to the employer free of charge for six months of coverage. After the six months has elapsed, employers can purchase additional bonding from Travelers if the worker has demonstrated job honesty under the original six month bond. The bond insures the employer for any type of stealing by theft, forgery, larceny or embezzlement.

    • Job-Related Information on Background Checks and Certificate of Employability (Old Provisional Pardon)

    Wondering what a potential employer will see on a background check? In general, employers can get information about your record from a credit report, the state police, and/or a national record check.  The background check will generally show any and all past convictions, but should not show charges that have been erased.
    In Connecticut, a charge must generally be erased from your record if:

    • the charge was dismissed;
    • you were found not guilty of the charge;
    • the charge was continued at least 13 months ago;
    • you completed probation in an accelerated rehabilitation program for the charge; or
    • the charge was nolled at least 13 months ago (As of Oct. 2009, this includes incidents where there were several charges from one arrest and some ended in convictions).

    If a charge has been erased from your record, you can truthfully answer “NO” to questions about whether you were arrested, charged, or convicted on that charge. 
    For more information about background checks and employment (in English and Spanish), see:
    Questions and Answers about Employment and Your Criminal Record (CT Statewide Legal Services)
    En Espanol: Preguntas & Respuestas Sobre - El Empleo y Su Récord Criminal
    Concerned about the effect a past conviction may have on your job search? You can apply for a provisional pardon at any time.  See this website’s section on pardons for more information
    Self-Help Guides: Work/Unemployment & Criminal Records (Connecticut Network for Legal Aid)
    Guías Para Autoayuda: Desempleo/Empleo & Records Criminales

    • Other Job Search Resources
      City of New Haven Job Postings
      (The City of New Haven does not inquire about criminal records on the initial job application).

    Getting a Voter Registration Card
    New Haven Bureau of Vital Statistics (for New Haven birth certificates)
    Elm City Resident Card

    For more information about identification, please see our guide.

    Drafted by the City’s Community Services Administration, this ordinance—approved by the Board of Aldermen by a vote of 22 to 1 on February 17, 2009—removes from all City job applications the “box” or query relating to an applicant’s conviction history. Under this ordinance, the City may inquire about any conviction history an applicant may have only after it has made the applicant a provisional offer of employment on the basis of that individual’s qualifications. In addition, vendors contracting with the City must, under the ordinance, attest that they have hiring policies consistent with the City’s own.
    Ban the Box Ordinance
    Why Ban the Box?
    New Haven Independent (December 15, 2008)
    New Haven Register (March 5, 2009)


    Every other Wednesday, Chance Jackson hosts an informational pardons session at City Hall. Anyone interested in learning more about the pardons process in Connecticut is welcome! Please click here for more information about these sessions.

    Before attending one of our sessions, you may want to read the answers to some frequently asked questions about pardons in Connecticut.

    There are two types of pardons:

    • You can apply for a Certificate of Employability 90 days after release for incarceration and or 90 days after you have successfully completed probation/parole supervision.  A Certificate of Employability is for employment purposes: it states that you are employable and makes it illegal for employers to deny employment based on your criminal record.
    • You can apply for an expungement pardon 3 years after the disposition date of your most recent misdemeanor conviction and/or 5 years after the disposition date of your most recent felony conviction. An expungement pardon erases the official criminal record.

    For application materials for a Certificate of Employability and/or an expungement pardon, go to:
    Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles


    • Why Restore Your Vote?

    Getting a voter registration card is simple, and you can use a voter registration card to help you get a copy of your birth certificate, or other forms of ID. If you’re on probation, if you’ve completed your sentence, or if you were only convicted of a misdemeanor, you are eligible to vote. You are only ineligible for a voter registration card if you were convicted of a felony and you are still on parole.
    For more information about restoring your vote (in English and Spanish), go to:
    Restore Your Vote Brochure (in English)   
    Restaure su Voto (en Espanol)

    • How to Get a Voter Registration Card

    To get a voter registration card, you only need to fill out a one-page mail-in voter registration form. You must bring or mail the form to the Town Hall or City Hall for the town or city where you live. The New Haven Registrar of Voters is located on the second floor at 200 Orange Street, New Haven, CT 06510.
    For voter registration forms (in English and Spanish), go to:
    English Language Voter Registration Form
    Spanish Language Voter Registration Form
    To find the address for the Town Hall or City Hall for the town or city where you live, go to:
    Registrars of Voters Office Addresses

    USA TODAY: Study could ease concerns over hiring ex-offenders

    'Redemption' in an Era of Widespread Criminal Background Checks

    Connecticut Law About Criminal Records
    GNH Community
    Open Society Institute: Justice Reinvestment
    Reentry Policy Council
    Reentry Net (NYC)
    Prison Reentry (Urban Institute)
    National Reentry Resource Center

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