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Sixty-five million Americans—or one in four adults—have a criminal record. But employers—including major companies like Bank of America, Omni Hotel, and Domino's Pizza—routinely post job ads on Craigslist that explicitly exclude such applicants, according to a new report conducted by the National Employment Law Center (NELP), a labor-affiliated advocacy group.
The practice appears in some cases to be against the law, and at a time of record long-term joblessness, advocates for the poor say it places yet another obstacle in front of people like Magee, who are working to get their life back on track. In addition, there's widespread agreement that helping those with criminal records to find stable employment is crucial for preventing recidivism and preventing future crime. Indeed, that's the reason that the government runs programs designed to make it easier for ex-offenders to find work.
Perhaps most important, effectively making more than one quarter of the American workforce unemployable may be an unsustainable policy for the economy as whole.
Many employers use outside companies that specialize in background checks—a fast-growing industry—to help screen out applicants with criminal records. A 2009 investigation by the state of New York found that RadioShack, working with the background check firm ChoicePoint, created a system that asked applicants "Have you been convicted of a felony in the past 7 years?" and automatically rejected anyone who answered "yes."
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. The U.S. incarceration rate on June 30, 2009 was 748 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, or 0.75%. The USA also has the highest total documented prison and jail population in the world.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 7,225,800 people at yearend 2009 were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population, or 1 in every 32 adults.
Indeed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has said that although considering an applicant's criminal record may be acceptable on a case-by-case basis, an "absolute bar to employment" for such people is illegal.
Still, the practice looks likely to grow only more common: Thanks to the tight labor market—there are currently five unemployed workers for every job opening—employers can be especially choosy about who they hire. Indeed, as we've reported, the EEOC is currently looking into another problem with similar roots: hiring discrimination against the unemployed.
I would question, of these crimes how many are actual crimes where someone was hurt.
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice, of the 2.2 million Americans that are currently incarcerated, 21.2 percent of them are non-violent drug offenders.
Originally posted by woodwardjnr
Just out of interest, are you still allowed to vote if you have a criminal record?
The legal ability of people with felony convictions to vote varies from state to state. Some states allow felons to vote from prison while other states permanently ban felons from voting even after being released from prison, parole, and probation, and having paid all their fines.
No federal laws exist on felon voting per se. Felon voting has not been regulated federally although some argue that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act can be applied to felon disenfranchisement and that Congress has the authority to legislate felon voting in federal elections.