AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the criminal justice system in America is well known to disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations, such as poor people, people of color and people with mental illness; and

WHEREAS, convictions in criminal cases may be the result of plea deals or biased jury verdicts as opposed to actual guilt; and

WHEREAS, many housing, employment and financial aid applications screen out people with prior convictions without providing additional consideration for the severity of the offense; and

WHEREAS, rapidly changing laws such as the decriminalization of marijuana mean an increasing number of people will have a conviction history for activities no longer considered criminal; and

WHEREAS, a lack of access to stable housing, employment and education are major pressures for a person to reoffend; and

WHEREAS, an entire family may be denied housing or income based on the conviction of a single member; and

WHEREAS, employers and landlords can perform criminal background checks after the initial round of screening if they are concerned about the history of the applicant; and

WHEREAS, discrimination against those with a criminal conviction by reputable landlords and companies can expose them and their family to financial exploitation, such as uncompetitive wages or deposit requirements:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will advocate for the elimination of criminal history screening questions for initial employment, housing and financial aid applications as part of the larger goal of reducing discrimination against people with a criminal history; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work to pass laws at the state and national levels to reduce discrimination against people with a criminal history.


Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.