15 October 2012
Equal Treatment for Those with Criminal Histories
All states should require equal treatment for all individuals with criminal records and the expungement of criminal histories for non-violent offenders after a certain period of time in order to reduce employment discrimination and the unemployment of qualified individuals.
With the great proliferation of technology in today’s society, it is very easy for employers to obtain almost any information they desire regarding an individual or potential employee. Because this information is so easily obtain, more employers are now requesting background checks for potential hires.
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The group found that companies of all sizes routinely deny people with records any chance to establish their qualifications, even for entry level jobs like warehouse worker. These blanket exclusion policies flout the E.E.O.C. rules. They also ignore research showing that many offenders who stay out of trouble for even a brief period after their original crimes present little or no risk to employers. (Staples 10(L))
The disregard of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s rules has a direct impact on the unemployment rate and recidivism rate in the United States. The inability of those individuals with criminal histories to find and maintain gainful employment drives up the unemployment rate and increases government dependency. In many instances, because these individuals are unable to find employment they return to the very acts and lifestyles which caused them to have criminal records to begin with. Many of these people have obtained their General Education Diplomas and some have gone even taken college classes and received their college degrees while they were incarcerated. All in hopes of changing their lives once they are released.
When these individuals return to society, many are looking forward to becoming productive citizens and leaving their criminal lifestyles behind. They don’t realize the obstacles they will encounter in their efforts to integrate themselves back into society. As stated in, Out of Prison, and Facing Job Discrimination, “Now that one in 100 American adults is incarcerated, one in 100 Americans will also face discrimination as he or she looks for jobs when released from custody.”(New York Times 5 Mar. 2008)
“It is a sad truth that while employment has been proven to lower the risk of recidivism for people with criminal records, the stigma of having a record continues to punish people – and their families – long after they have finished their sentences.”(New York Times 5 Mar 2008)
Our current legal system, doesn’t allow these individuals to reenter society and move on with their lives as free productive American citizens. Individuals with criminal convictions are often denied housing, food assistance and even financial aid for college. To deny an individual the opportunity for an education is a true travesty!
If someone commits a crime and is convicted; completes his sentence, there should be no reason he is denied assistance in becoming a contributing member of society and the opportunity to better his station in life. The purpose of incarceration should be the true rehabilitation of those individuals.
That is not the situation in a great deal of cases. Once an individual has been convicted, in most cases, his or her criminal history will haunt them forever. Our society only allows for the expungement or the sealing of criminal records in very few instances.
With over sixty five million adults is in the United States with criminal records, something must be done to alleviate the...