Reducing recidivism, having a felony record, and second chances.
We can all agree that leaving prison with a “felony” on their record disqualifies offenders from most jobs in our current workforce.
The word Felony
The remaining, albeit significant challenge, is because the word ‘felony’ appears;
(1) on most job applications or
(2) part of companies yearly background check
(3) likely may prohibit the offender from reentering the job market.
This remaining challenge is a political one; that being the removal of the word ‘felony’ (in certain cases) from a defendant’s record. Nationwide, for both state and federal cases a starting point could be:
- Non-violent offenses
- 7- 10 years from the charged offense – without other charges, background checks can either be removed or at minimum designated as completed or ‘not to be used as a negative in a background check’.
- Practically though, a felony will appear on background checks (Checkr for example keeps it forever), hindering the person from ever reentering most job markets.
- If this is not done and the released defendant cannot find work; they do not have many if any choices, leading to despair.
We can all agree that leaving prison with a “felony” on record disqualifies offenders from most jobs in our current workforce. The existing disclosure requirement that appears on most employment applications inhibits those affected from moving forward with their lives, thus contributing to this recidivism paradigm. Further once employed, some companies are ever more frequently obtaining background checks.
While slowly changing, our society’s current reality is that once released, these felons are still facing this challenge every day. Instead, it should be considered that once someone has paid for their crime, they are given a second chance. How states are working to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders.
Utah was one of at least three states that enacted legislation this year making it easier to expunge a criminal record.
A positive example of breaking the recidivism paradigm:
Understanding the Federal Sentencing Guidelines – for general information only.
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