The Background Buzz Insider
February 3, 2015

PBS NEWSHOUR Poll: Should employers doing background checks be blocked from seeing nonviolent criminal offenses?

In President Obama's State of the Union address he cited lowering crime rates and a lowering incarceration rate nationwide as an administration goal. But the after-effects of incarceration - or even just a criminal conviction or arrest - often continue to impact the lives of ex-offenders long after people have served their sentences. Should those ex-offenders be given second chances?

NewsHour Weekend explore how criminal histories are in some cases keeping ex-offenders from findings jobs, which in turn is driving people into dire economic circumstances.

The Wall Street Journal reported data from the University of South Carolina last year that Americans with an arrest record by age 23 are twice as likely to end up in poverty as their peers. Advocates add that having even a minor criminal history can create barriers for a person's future, from employment to housing.

A growing number of jurisdictions are now banning preliminary questions about job applicants' criminal records. But advocates suggest a policy that goes a step further: to seal nonviolent, low-level criminal offenses that are more than ten years old, effectively blocking employers from learning about a potential employee's criminal record after that time has passed.

Should employers doing background checks be blocked from seeing any non-violent criminal offenses?

Yes, a nonviolent offense should not be an obstacle to gainful employment
Yes, nonviolent offenses should be sealed from background checks -- but only after ten years
No, a business owner has the right to know the full background of the individual he/she is hiring

Click here to Vote

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