SBA’s Proposed Amendments Increase Economic Mobility for Justice-Impacted Americans

September 19, 2023

Late last week the Small Business Administration (SBA) published a number of long-overdue proposed amendments that will greatly increase access to capital for small-business owners impacted by the criminal legal system.

Throughout the journey from reentry to reintegration, directly-impacted citizens often turn to business ownership as a way to turn a passion into a profit. According to a 2021 study, those impacted by the criminal legal system own over 200,000 different businesses nationwide.

For too long, however, due to inconsistent, arbitrary, and racist regulations, a great deal of the resources for new business owners were off the table. Phrases like “crimes of moral turpitude” and “character assessments” became barriers to sourcing the capital needed for a successful start-up and discouraged other prospective entrepreneurs from pursuing their goals. The amendments proposed by the SBA help greatly broaden access to the needed capital for directly impacted entrepreneurs, but these amendments are not in effect … yet! 

Members of the public have a right to submit public comments on the proposed changes to the SBA’s lending practices, and we encourage directly impacted leaders to do so. The JustUs Coordinating Council serves as a resource and network for directly impacted policy advocates and social justice organizations who work to elevate and create equity for those impacted by the criminal legal system. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to elevate ways in which our collective experience is exactly the type of expertise that we want to fill the Federal Register