(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Reps. David Trone (D-MD), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Van Taylor (R-TX) in sending a bipartisan letter to the Trump Administration's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) expressing strong concerns over a proposed rule that would require individuals applying to work for the federal government to indicate whether they have participated in a pretrial diversion program.

Statutory pretrial diversion is well established in 48 states and the District of Columbia. It allows low-level, non-violent offenders an opportunity to earn a second chance and avoid a permanent criminal record. These types of programs that promote successful rehabilitation have broad support as demonstrated by the passage of the bipartisan First Step Act.

“The entire purpose of pretrial diversion is to give people an opportunity for a second chance,” said Congressman David Trone (D-MD). “At my company we hired over 100 returning citizens. We knew that people make mistakes, but with a little help, they can get on the right path. We need to be focused on removing barriers to employment, not stripping away second chances, and the federal government should set that example.”

“America is a country that believes in second chances,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). “Programs that emphasize redemption over recidivism should be applauded rather than shamed. The Office of Personnel Management should immediately withdraw its proposal requiring potential candidates to disclose their participation in pretrial diversion. Representatives Trone and Taylor are to be commended for their efforts in this regard.”

“Requiring prospective federal employees to disclose their participation in pretrial diversion programs completely counteracts the purpose of such programs existing in the first place,” said Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX). “Pretrial diversion programs are generally available for first-time, low-level offenders, and typically include various requirements like making restitution, performing community service, participating in counseling, and staying out of trouble. These programs exist entirely to rehabilitate these individuals and not subject them to the far reaching and grave consequences of the criminal justice system that often stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

The letter was also signed by: Representatives Anthony Brown, Don Beyer, Yvette D. Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Sheila Jackson Lee, Ro Khanna, Grace Meng, Gwen Moore, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Donald Payne Jr.,Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Jan Schakowsky.

You can see the complete letter here.