Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cool News For (Former) Convicts

This is a story I didn't even hear about until yesterday, but apparently it's been going on for a while. Anyone who has ever applied for a job will know that a lot of jobs, if not every job, will ask you about former criminal convictions. Now, obviously, some jobs require this. I would want to make sure that everyone working with children, for example, is not or has never been a convicted sex offender. It's just the smart thing to do.
I wouldn't want this man looking after my kids. 
But for some jobs it's not really necessary. Or the conviction is for something entirely unrelated to the job, but will hinder their chances of being successful. I will preface this by saying I've worked with young offenders before. They might not be full blown criminals but they have been in trouble with the law. They get sent to volunteer with us every so often as part of the reformation process. I understand a lot of people don't like working with ex-cons, but if you have no idea that they are one, then you'll be fine. Well anyway, on to the cool bit of news.
Georgia, a state normally known for backwards laws (or at least being a part of an area where that happens a lot) actually became very progressive. They became the first state, at least in the south, to "Ban the Box" as it's being called. This means that people who apply for jobs can't be asked about their criminal past unless they are one of the most qualified candidates. That means that an ex-con is judged on their skills until the final process by which time they should have made a good enough impression to let the whole "ex-con" thing slide. Even then only relevant convictions can be taken into account.

I don't know about you guys but I think this is a really good move. Some people in prison learn a lot, and spend a lot of time studying, and then they have serious trouble getting a job when they get out. Even more plan to not offend, but their criminal past means they can never get a job so they resort to stealing again. It's a vicious circle and it's nice to see that some states are taking steps to stop it.

So thank you Georgia, and the other 12 states to sign up to this, that have said they're willing to give ex-cons more of a chance than ever before. Hopefully this is a good step and leads to less re-offenders and a more efficient and effective prison system.

Could you work with an ex-convict? Would you even be able to tell you were working with one if you didn't know?

4 comments:

  1. I've never had to knowingly work with an ex-convict. I would probably be okay about it unless the conviction was for a violent or sexual offence. Then I would be leery and my instinct would be to keep my distance from that co-worker.

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  2. Making it almost impossible for anyone who has had prior troubles with the law to get a job, just seems like a never ending death spiral, so this might be a good idear.

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  3. I recently learned that the Canadian human rights laws prevent discrimination based on conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

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  4. you know...you have to think about your decisions before you make it...
    and the consequences...i was just talking to my students at school on how your decisions now will impact your future...just like the job thing...you have to work to reestablish yourself...and if you were convicted, then reestablish yourself...its hard...should it be easy, i dunno

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