Trenton — New Jersey Democrats will introduce legislation today meant to give convicted criminals a better shot at finding work. The measure, known as “ban the box,” would require employers to consider the qualifications of job candidates before asking about criminal histories, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a primary sponsor, said last night. Giving jobs to former convicts will reduce recidivism rates, he said.(Snip) New Jersey, like many states, has struggled to keep released inmates from committing more crimes. Nearly 55 percent of offenders released from the state’s prisons in 2008 were rearrested, according to a report by the
Comments: Call it the Robert Menendez (D-NJ) Full Employment Act.
No proposal to make criminals ineligible for social services or to lose the vote, I see!
I have to agree with this kind of approach. If someone has paid their penalty and the employer cannot define some special reason to bar a convict (ex., sex offender - daycare business) then prior sins should not be the at the door barrier to employment as is currently seen.
Sorry, partisan balony aside, this is the right policy. Would you rather these ex-cons end up on welfare and food stamps? If you done your time, society should not continue to discriminate against you.
So what happens if someone who has a criminal record does something to another empolyee? Steals money from a customer? Does the bueinsss get sued? Yup. Does their insurance go up? Yup. Why take the risk? I´m all about giving someone a second chance - but there has to be someting in it for the employer..
As a teenager, I worked at a restaurant in a nice part of town that participated in the county work release program. They failed to tell the employees this, so I didn´t know I was working with a gang banging thug with a weapons charge who was living in a halfway house until I struck up a conversation with the guy. He was young and nice enough, but I should have quit on the spot and raised cain with the owner. Being a somewhat silly teenage girl at the time, I wasn´t thinking about how his buddies at the halfway house probably knew what time we locked up, counted money, who worked when etc. I´m sick over it now looking back. About 5 years later, after I was long gone, an angry employee (not the thug I worked with but another one) walked into the place in broad daylight and gunned down 2 managers in cold blood. They never said he was on work release but I believe he had a record.
This program is a bad thing. It puts other law abiding employees in danger, especially in the restaurant and retail industries where so much cash is involved.
I agree, that if you have done the time then this should not be used against you if you are qualified for the position. A criminal record, however minor, destroys so many opportunities for so many talented people.
Back in the early 70´s my first job out of the Marine Corps was as a Probation Officer in a northern NJ county. One of my projects was to line up employers to hire probationers so as to reduce their chances of recidivism. The first guy I sent out for an interview stole the desk set from the president of the company. Some people you just can´t help!
Fine, but exempt employers who hire them from any misdeeds that the former criminal might choose to do again, even while working. Whenever bad things happen, it ends up in court and the argument goes: Employer SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, and even though robbing the store while on delivery, or beating the snot out of Gramma for her meds was NOT part of the job description, if that employee has a record of doing so in the past, it will hold the new employer responsible.
It all depends of the employers. Let them decide. So who wants to hire my former co-worker? The 19 year old was caught- internal theft at a retail store? What sensible employer would take a chance with her?
#10 hits the nail on the head! And, BTW, it´s not the criminal record that reduces opportunities...it´s the criminal acts that were performed that result in the lost opportunities! Actions....consequences! Part of the consequences of committing criminal acts, in addition to jail time, is the damage to one´s reputation and the consequences thereof.
In 1995, a Methodist church in Tulsa hired an ex-con resident of a halfway house as janitor. He raped and murdered the church secretary.
Also, I used to work in employment security. One thing I learned is that a thief is a thief. If someone admitted to stealing in the pre-employment questionnaire, he was immediately disqualified by the prospective employer.
Back in the 1950s, our teachers taught us to avoid criminal activity - that the consequences would follow us our whole lives, that we would lose the right to vote, that we would go to prison, that it would be difficult to get a job. And to drive home the jail part, the teacher took us on a tour of our county jail. Most of us were paying attention. Now when a business has a job opening, they are not allowed to ask about the availability fof transportation to work (which in itself is pretty important) they are not supposed to ask about anything personal, don´t check credit rating, they are told, and now, the felon sitting across the desk from the HR Manager is not to be asked about a criminal record. This is insane. But the movement is sweeping the country. Yesterday, the city council of syracuse, NY, took up the same sort of bill. And the phrase ´´ban the box´ is gone viral.
#18 makes some excellent points. Many criminals´ behavior patterns are pretty much set in stone. Rehabilitation requires a complete change in their thought processes and many don´t have the desire or self-discipline to carry it through.
I think #19 is on the right track. The proper thing to do is to educate kids about the dangers of temptation and the consequences of doing wrong, especially when you know what right is. If properly scared straight, people with a criminal record will generally be only those who cannot be redeemed.
If you did the crime and the time, lie on the employment paper work for a job, then do your best to keep the job. IT´S YOUR SECOND CHANCE! AFTER ALL, OUR POLITICIANS HAVE THE GREATEST JOBS EVER, AND THEY LIE FOR A LIVING.
Re: reply 6. Public schools cannot disclose students´ criminal records because of juvenile justice privacy laws. So if a little hood commits assault, even with a deadly weapon, and is expelled, he or she can enroll in another district and the teachers and other students don´t know about billy´s criminal past. This problem is compounded by schools like the one where I work that gladly enroll any warm body because the district needs the money. Also, judges like to impose compulsory public school attendance on incorrigibles as a condition they must comply with to stay out of jail or reform school. Such laws and policies place teachers and students in peril, which is terribly wrong. I think violent juvenile perps should be banned from the public school setting.
Just because someone may have paid their debt to society for the crimes they committed, doesn´t mean that employers should be asked to throw common sense out the window. If you have 10 applicants for a job. All with relatively similar qualifications. Employers must use additional information to further narrow the field of potential employees. The very fact of a person´s criminal record, shows that they have a history of lapses in judgement.
Let me see, we have over 20 MILLION PEOPLE in our country who have come in ILLEGALLY, which means not through LEGAL means, which means ILLEGALLY. This bunch has many jobs and soon we won´t be able to ask anything about them because the Democrats will say that´s racist. They draw benefits, their kids get a free education and many get free health care. Then we have many more millions that ´can´t´ find a job so we give them unemployment checks and when that runs out we give them another 50 weeks...then we have the ones that ran through the unemployment and now collect ´damaged/hurt´ or disability pay, which means can´t work and there are millions of them. Now also we have those who struggled to get ahead in life and busted their butts working and going to school to get diplomas and degrees but can´t find work in their fields...lots and lots of those. And now here come the felons, criminals, and untrusted crowd who cry out that they can´t get decent jobs...the Democrats want them launched up to the head of the line or at least at par with the straight, law abiding, ´work to get ahead bunch´...that seems fair right? We have plenty of them in our Congress and how´s that working out?
A number of years ago, I went along with the request of a local parole agency to hire an ex con. Two nights after he started the job, he and his daughter were found by my customer´s security crew carrying a whole flock of small business machines out of the customer´s office.
Having a 3+ year employment gap on your resume or application is probably only slightly less problematic than checking that criminal record box and a wash if the candidate is asked to explain their employment gap and either refuses to or mentions being in jail during that time.
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