You can’t be the most prison-happy country in the plant and not expect to run into people with convictions. And with California’s latest order to release 33,000 from state prisons, the number of convicts on the streets will only rise. The question is, would we rather see them get jobs and be productive or be unemployed and unable to provide for themselves and family?
A proposed law in San Francisco would make it at least a little bit easier for those convicted of crimes to find employment. San Francisco would join states like New York Hawaii, and Massachusetts if the proposal passes. Philadelphia also has a similar law in place.
Employers would still be able to consider the applicants criminal background, but only after they have determined he/she is qualified for the job. In other words, they wouldn’t be able to put that particular application on the rejection pile until they gave them a fair shot.
If it was determined the applicant was qualified but they had a criminal history, the employer would only be able to eliminate them from the applicant pool if the conviction was directly related to the employment opportunity. Obviously, someone charged with prescription drug fraud wouldn’t be able to get a job at a pharmacy.
Critics say this is an “eye rolling” law that is too soft on crime. But San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon says, “This is not about being soft on crime. If we release people into our communities and don’t figure out a way to get them housing and employment, we put them in a situation where the only opportunity they have is often to reoffend.”
Employment is said to be the leading risk factor in recidivism. That is, if an offender cannot find a job after their release, they will be far more likely to return to prison.
San Francisco adopted a similar policy over five years ago in regards to public job seekers. Many states and cities nationwide have done the same. This, however, affective private business owners will likely be somewhat harder to pass.
Difficulty in finding employment is just one of the many negative consequences you face when you’ve been convicted of a crime. If you are charged with a criminal offense in California, there are things you can do to potentially avoid such repercussions. Contact us today to discuss your options.