Life Sentence to Unemployment

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The unemployment line at the FDR memorial in Washington, D.C. (Kate Ure/flickr)

Kai Wright, editorial director of Colorlines and contributor to The Nation, talks about the hurdles to employment for those coming out of prison and how they disproportionately affect Blacks and Latinos.



Kai Wright

Comments [10]

BK from Hoboken

My initial reaction to this segment was "don't commit the crime". I have a fundamental problem with te government telling me that it is illegal to have two similar candidates, expect one has a record, and I can't make a hiring decision based on that as a deciding factor.
That all said, Mr Bad's suggestion below really seems to be the most practical and fairest way to "split the baby".

Nov. 19 2013 11:55 AM
Miscellaneous from NYC

The correct thing to do would be to vet all employees and not hire those who might represent a liability in a specific industry. For example, I would not be averse to hiring someone who has had a marijuana possession arrest in the past, but if I were to hire this person to do deliveries by van, I would insist on random drug testing. Having someone using alcohol or drugs while driving would represent a liability in my business.

Likewise, other employers should evaluate based on their needs.

On the other hand, it is getting more and more difficult to find young people who have not used some kind of illegal substance and hiring is becoming more and more difficult, so the evaluation needs to be situational. A drug possession arrest (provided it is not for dealing) is far different from a mass murder charge or large-scale embezzling.

Nov. 19 2013 11:48 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@JF - Probably but I thought the caller seemed reasonable.

Nov. 19 2013 11:47 AM


Nov. 19 2013 11:46 AM

What about if I do not know if I have record, I apply for jobs and I do not hear anything.. I have no idea how to see my records, nor can I afford

Nov. 19 2013 11:44 AM
urbangranolagirl from Jersey City

I have mixed feelings on this. What about fellow employees? Do I have any right to know if my co-workers are convicted for theft, assault, or sexual crimes?

Nov. 19 2013 11:42 AM
jf from reality

To the business owner who has high turnover. You have high turn over because you make a horrible place to work and don't pay your workers enough. That's why they steal from you.

Nov. 19 2013 11:41 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I'm all for giving people second chances, especially considering that if one is poor, of color, and is being defended by an over-worked or incompetent public defender, he/she, is more likely to plead out or get a harsh sentence.

However, for reasons of liability, safety, and otherwise, an employer has a right to know if someone was found guilty of a crime that may affect the type of job offered: embezzlement (cashier/accounts) sexual assault(teacher) and drunk driving (bus driver) etc.

Nov. 19 2013 11:37 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I have no idea why it is legal to ask for this information during the hiring process. Employer's should not be allowed to run a criminal record search until after they have offered the job to a prospective employee. Once an offer has been to the employee the employer should THEN be allowed to run a criminal records check and if necessary they can then justify a disqualification if necessary. Simple, common sense solution.

Nov. 19 2013 11:33 AM
Margaret Stix from Brooklyn

Banning the Box has no impact because employers now routinely get credit checks on applicants, which also provide info re criminal records. Also too many NYS jobs disqualify individuals based on criminal records.

Nov. 19 2013 11:32 AM

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