In an effort to reduce discrimination against former convicted criminals, President Barack Obama has issued an executive order to remove the admission of a criminal history from job applications for federal jobs.
While former criminals might still be required to eventually admit to a criminal conviction, they won’t have to do so until late into the hiring process. By that point, employers will have already gotten to know the job seeker, and they might be more likely to overlook a past mistake.
President Obama says that he issued the executive order based on a meeting that he had with federal prisoners in July. The prisoners said that they were extremely concerned about finding employment upon their releases. The President says that it’s very important that these people be given a second chance to contribute to society so that the rehabilitation process can be continued.
This is the latest effort from President Obama in his goal of helping former criminals become contributing members of society. According to the United States Department of Justice, roughly 60% to 75% of former prison inmates are unable to find employment within their first year out of prison.
Many of these former inmates are forced to resume a life of crime. They end up back in prison, costing taxpayers more money and continuing the cycle.
According to research, more than 50% of employers are extremely reluctant to hire potential employees with an existing criminal record. Furthermore, employers are said to be even more hesitant when the ex-convict is black.
While many say that the policy of requiring criminals to admit to a criminal background helps employers find appropriate people for jobs, many have criticized the practice for encouraging employment discrimination. By eliminating the practice, former criminals should have an easier time finding employment, and thus, be more likely to stay out of prison.
Additionally, similar policies have been supported by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie and Rand Paul.
As for the recent executive order from the President, White House representatives have said that the order will go into effect immediately. As a result, the human resources department of the federal government will now start delaying inquiries into criminal history until late into the hiring process.