Natasha Scruggs, Esq. has the passion and the expertise to help justice involved individuals. A longtime attorney, Scruggs founded The Scruggs Law Firm in 2018, a practice with a focus on the rights of people accused of crime. The firm’s website emphasizes its holistic approach: “the legal team understands that each legal matter did not arise in a vacuum. The firm takes into account the systemic issues facing the community it serves.

Her legal expertise and community involvement made Scruggs the right choice for the Chamber’s new Business-HR Liaison position, supporting the Workforce Opportunities for Returning Citizens (WORC) initiative. WORC is designed to connect businesses to formerly incarcerated people. This not only helps businesses strengthen their workforce, but it helps returning citizens find meaningful work that provides a career path. Studies show 60-75% of returning citizens remain unemployed one year after release from prison. Reducing that rate by just 1% can lead to a 1–2% drop in the community’s crime rate.

Though Scruggs is new to working for a chamber of commerce, she said she’s excited to be part of the initiative, and ready to deeply engage.

“I believe that WORC is one of the most innovative additions to the business community in a while,” said Scruggs. “WORC is educating companies about the benefits of tapping into an underutilized workforce and assisting justice involved citizens simultaneously. I believe that other Chambers will soon follow suit.”

Scruggs has seen firsthand what happens when formerly incarcerated men and a women leave prison without a job or any specialized training. “During my first legal Externship in law school, I was able to get a client’s case dismissed only for him to become homeless and jobless,” said Scruggs. “This client and many more would have benefited from the WORC initiative at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.”

She’s also served as the president of JustUs System Inc., founded in 2016. This non-profit works to fill the gap between the education system and the justice system. “The goal is to build a new pipeline that makes the school-to-prison pipeline obsolete,” said Scruggs. This goal aligns with WORC’s approach to systems change that looks at the overall scope of crime reduction policies and practices through a focused lens to reduce recidivism through employing justice involved individuals.

The business community should be aware of the work being done because it affects all of us,” Scruggs explained. “Anyone can become justice involved, and when someone close to them does, they will want some social safety nets in place during reentry into society. This work deeply impacts most of my clients. I hope to bring my legal experience and community experience to the Chamber to ensure the voice of the silent is heard and prioritized.”

A St. Louis native, Scruggs has spent the past six years in KC. Her family is very important to her, and she counts both her mom and her grandmother as heroes. Scruggs also looks at young people, both in her family and outside of it, as inspiration. “The youth in our community are my motivation. They are the most vulnerable in our society yet the most resilient and promising. I work to make the community a better place for them to transition into adulthood.

Natasha Scruggs, Esq joins the Chamber as the Business-HR liaison.
Natasha Scruggs, Esq joins the Chamber as the Business-HR liaison.
Natasha Scruggs, Esq joins the Chamber as the Business-HR liaison.