San Francisco has passed legislation to block applicants criminal history. It is aimed to reduce the rate recidivism by keeping employers and housing from asking about criminal history on applications. Officials hope that not only will recidivism rates be reduced, public safety in the community will be increased.
What is a Fresh Start?
Ex-offenders are being released into the general public with a conviction that will follow them for the rest of their lives. They have to start over in an environment they have not seen or been a part of for many months or even decades. In many areas ex-offenders are unable to find housing or a job to support themselves and return to their pre-sentence life style despite their best intentions for a fresh start. Many offenders may have taken part in transition counseling and may even have earned job experience from working while incarcerated, but are still deemed unhirable in the workforce. At the same time, ex-offenders are not being given the same housing opportunities. How can a person with a scar of criminal history provide for themselves? Unfortunately the answer is to have “a do what you have to do to survive” attitude and that means going back to prison where they have a roof over their head and meals to eat.
Convicts can be given a second chance and be able to provide for themselves without having to battle the prejudice that often goes with a criminal history. San Francisco Board of Supervisors has approved a new ordinance that will prohibit employers and housing applications from asking questions regarding criminal history; however, these questions can be asked after a live interview with the applicant. When this ordinance goes into effect, ex-offenders will not be looked over based on the check box next to criminal history. Their work history and references will get them in the door and face to face with human resources or housing authority. Having this opportunity will allow the potential employer to base their decisions on the person in front of them and not just the check box.
The chances of re-offending will decrease when those with a criminal history are given a fair chance at turning their life around. When given this opportunity they are not forced back into the life of crime as a means of survival and that will have positive effects on public safety in the community.
Patrick Donovan is a Massachusetts criminal attorney that has appeared in over fifty courts. A former assistant district attorney, Patrick Donovan has experience in felony and misdemeanor crimes and has represented people many different charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime call today for a free consultation.