It’s no secret that the recidivism rate for former prisoners is high, due in no small part to their inability to obtain employment. Too often prisoners are summarily rejected, simply because they have to check the dreaded little box admitting to their former criminal history.
Thanks to President Barack Obama’s new Executive Order, former prisoners applying for jobs within the federal government system (excluding positions working for contractors) will be able to delay answering questions about their criminal background until later in the hiring process. This is just one of the measures President Obama announced on Monday which are designed to reduce the obstacles former prisoners face when trying to successfully reintegrate into society.
Many states, cities and private employers have taken steps to “ban the box,” referring to the check box on most applications asking if an applicant has “ever been convicted of a crime.” Up to this point, most federal employers still asked the question, but with the signing of this Executive Order, can no longer do so during the initial application process. This will ensure that higher level hiring managers will actually SEE these applicants and be able to judge them on their individual merits.
Other initiatives soon to be announced by Obama include education, housing grants, and partnerships between local governments and private industry to provide jobs and training in the technology fields.
This announcement is just a continuation of Obama’s recent efforts to reform the criminal justice system. Not one to just ride out the remainder of this last term as President, he has pledged to address the issues of mass incarceration, mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent offenders, and police brutality.
President Barack Obama: a champion of ALL the American people, even those considered “discardable” by those on the far right.
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Featured image via today.com