Paycheck Protection Program Shouldn’t Exclude Ex-Inmates Who Have Paid Their Debt To Society – Twin Cities
After running out of money once, the Paycheck Protection Program started accepting loan applications again. But the rules still exclude some valid candidates.
As part of the government’s massive stimulus package for coronavirus relief, the PPP is offering loans to business owners to help their businesses and the jobs they support survive the economic calamity created by the pandemic. But among the multiple problems with the program is this: Applicants are automatically disqualified if they have been in trouble with the law.
It should be more than obvious that actively dangerous criminals should not receive these funds. But the PPP goes much further than such a common sense rule. It disqualifies applicants if they have been convicted of a felony within the past five years, if they have been released on parole for a felony within the past five years, or if they have simply been charged with ‘a crime in the past five years and participated in it. in a pre-trial diversion program. In addition, the convict does not have to be the sole or even majority owner of the business for the business to be disqualified. All this regardless of the circumstances of the crime and, what is most important in our opinion, the possibility of rehabilitation. Under the PPP guidelines, an applicant could be disqualified even if they have served all their time and paid their debt to the company.
Such exclusions are particularly damaging to ex-prisoners precisely because they are ex-prisoners. It is often difficult for Americans with a criminal history to find employment, which is why many start their own businesses. They open restaurants or mechanical workshops or consulting companies rather than submitting applications which will be automatically disqualified as the PPP application. We would say that creating a large pool of people who will essentially not be able to support themselves is not in the public interest. We’re all better off if legally run businesses stay in business and support people who otherwise find it nearly impossible to find work.
There’s an easy fix here, as easy as changing a label on an app. Rather than asking if applicants have been convicted, the form could simply ask if applicants have been found guilty or have pleaded guilty or have not contested a charge for which a sentence or settlement is not complete. .
The P3 should not fund criminal enterprises, but it shouldn’t be the mechanism to mark ex-inmates with a scarlet letter after they successfully navigate the Texas corrections system. As cynical as our society may be, we still believe that some people learn from their mistakes and that those who have served their time and put their past behind them should not be punished again by excluding their businesses from this help.