National Reentry Legal Resources

With 2.2 million people behind bars across the U.S., and over 68 million Americans living with criminal records, there has been a huge demand to expand Root & Rebound’s reentry legal resources and advocacy efforts nationally. Based in Oakland, California, Root & Rebound is doing its best to respond to that vast need. As a first step, our team developed this “National Reentry Legal Resources” page to provide online videos and educational materials about navigating legal and practical barriers to reentry that will apply no matter where you live.

The videos were created in collaboration with Defy Ventures to educate their program participants who are currently incarcerated and interested in starting their own businesses upon release and preparing for a successful reentry. If you are working with currently incarcerated people, we believe these videos will be particularly meaningful for your work.

In addition to the videos below, Root & Rebound also has a list of some of the best national reentry resources at the bottom of this page under “Additional Resources.” We will continue to add national content here over time, and with your generous contributions and support, we aim to one day expand our programming in other states. Thank you for your incredible support!

Please email our team at with questions about this information, or to discuss opportunities for expanding our work nationally.

National Reentry Topics – Introduction

In this introduction video created for Defy Ventures participants, you will learn about Root & Rebound's model as a reentry legal resource center based in California, and its comprehensive Roadmap to Reentry legal guidebook for Californians with criminal records to learn about their rights and available resources.

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National Reentry Topics – Legal Documents & Voting

In this video on obtaining identification documents (ID) and understanding voting rights, you will learn about key types of legal and identification documents in any state, suggestions on how to begin the process of obtaining those documents where you live, and general information on the voting rights of people with records--including where to go to find out more about your rights in your state.

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National Reentry Topics – Parole and Probation

In this video on parole and probation issues, created for Defy Ventures' participants -- you will learn the basics of community supervision (like parole or probation) and the importance of following and understanding conditions of supervision, as well as how to challenge conditions that you believe are unlawful and the right to accommodations for disabilities.

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National Reentry Topics – Housing

In this video on housing rights in reentry, you will learn about different types of housing including options for short-term and long-term housing, as well as how a criminal record can impact someone's rights to government-funded versus privately owned and operated housing.

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National Reentry Topics – Other Steps to Take in Reentry

In this video on other steps to take in reentry, you will learn about your rights related to public benefits; employment, background checks during the hiring process, and state professional licenses; court-ordered debts like restitution and court fines and fees; continuing your education; and family and child reunification.

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National Reentry Topics – Follow up with Root & Rebound

In this closing video about follow-up support from Root & Rebound, you will learn how to follow up with Root & Rebound for information, resources, and support for navigating and overcoming barriers due to a criminal record.

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  • FOR ALL: Reentry MythBusters! (Federal Interagency Reentry Council)
  • FOR ADVOCATES: American Bar Association’s “National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of a Conviction” (2013) (ABA)
  • FOR ALL: Collateral Consequences Resource Center
  • FOR ADVOCATES: “Advocacy Toolkit to Combat Legal Barriers Facing Individuals with Criminal Records” (Legal Action Center, NYC)

Identification & Legal Documents:

  • SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRATION (Men Only): How to Get a “Status Information Letter” if Incarcerated between your 18th and 26th Birthdays (U.S. Selective Service System)


  • FOR ALL: ACLU’s Voter Re-Enfranchisement Map
  • FOR ALL: “Reentry Mythbuster! On Voting Rights” (Oct. 2016) (Federal Interagency Reentry Council)


  • FOR EMPLOYERS: “Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring” (2013) (National H.I.R.E. Network)
  • FOR EMPLOYERS & ADVOCATES: Campaign – “Ensuring People with Convictions Have a Fair Chance to Work” (NELP)
  • FOR ADVOCATES: “Unlicensed & Untapped: Removing Barriers to State Occupational Licenses for People with Records” (2016) (NELP)


  • FOR LANDLORDS & ADVOCATES: Guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): “Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions” (2016) (HUD)
  • FOR LANDLORDS & ADVOCATES: HUD FAQs: Excluding the Use of Arrest Records in Housing Decisions (2016) (HUD)
  • FOR ADVOCATES: “Helping Moms, Dads and Kids to Come Home: Eliminating Barriers to Housing for People with Criminal Records” (2016) (National H.I.R.E. Network)
  • FOR ADVOCATES: “Communities, Evictions & Criminal Convictions: Public Housing and Disparate Impact: A model policy” (2013) (FICPM)

Court-Ordered Debt:

  • FOR ADVOCATES: “Confronting Criminal Justice Debt” (2016) (Harvard Law School)

Public Benefits:

  • SOCIAL SECURITY: Benefits After Incarceration: What You Need To Know (U.S. Social Security Administration)
  • SOCIAL SECURITY: “Reentry Mythbuster! On Social Security Benefits” (Federal Interagency Reentry Council)
  • SNAP: “Reentry Mythbuster! On SNAP Benefits” (Federal Interagency Reentry Council)
  • TANF: “Reentry Mythbuster! On TANF Benefits” (Federal Interagency Reentry Council)
  • VETERAN’S BENEFITS: “Reentry Mythbuster! On Veteran’s Benefits” (Federal Interagency Reentry Council)