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California

Push to ban crime box on job applications expands

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim wants to make this question virtually obsolete on job applications in San Francisco: Have you been convicted of a crime? Kim is proposing to expand the city’s existing ban by having it include most private employers, publicly funded housing providers and city contractors.

Ten states and more than 50 cities have adopted some version of “ban the box,” and a growing number of private employers are also jumping on board – earlier this year, Target announced it would strip the question from its applications. The federal government recommends that step as a best practice for all employers.

In a nation where an estimated 65 million people have a criminal history – 7 million in California alone – supporters see the proposal, dubbed the Fair Chance ordinance, as a win for not only former offenders but also society at large. Full Article

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  1. Q

    This part of the ban the box article kind of takes the teeth out of this otherwise just movement.

    “It now will only apply to those with 20 or more employees, it will allow businesses to conduct background checks after a live interview instead of after a conditional offer of employment, and it does not allow applicants to sue”.

    Since people on the registry are still hated and reviled, it will be interesting to hear the experiences of registrants seeking employment. The “box” has effectively kept me in what most people would consider to be impoverishment for over ten years. I just want to work and have a life.

    • FRegistryTerrorists

      It won’t help people who are Registered – those people will be found on the Registry and not hired. Just like today.

      You have to work for yourself. Start your own business, put the people who won’t hire you out of business, and only hire people who oppose the Registries.

      We are at war with the immoral, un-Americans who support the Registries. War. We should be doing whatever we can to improve the quality of our lives at their expense. I reduce the quality of their lives in all ways I am able.

  2. Tim

    I agree with you completely, and dispite what the idiots think about keeping us down, it is not in society’s benefit to keep our families and us poor. I pay taxes and therefore am not a burden to society. As it should be. I would like to share with you or anyone else, how to make money despite the situation I am in. It looks like we only have ourselves to rely on to make life more secure. The bar is set extra high for us, but demonized groups in the past (Jews during the middle ages, for example) found ways to help each other make livings dispute the restrictions. Now it is up to us.

    • Q

      Tim; I’m open to new ideas to make money, as I have only had sporadic employment for the last ten years. I know this post is a bit past the date you wrote your response, but my computer was down for a few weeks. If you answer perhaps we can find a way to contact each other.

      • Tim

        The only idea I can come up with is some sort of cooperative, were we can pick a business and pool resources to make it happen. What business, I don’t know, just legal. I am self employed, but lately I have been struggling. Maybe it is so easy to find out my past, they decide to hire someone else. I could use some ideas also. There was once a company here in San Diego, made up of fomer convicts that got contracts to trim weeds around power lines for the electric company. Good idea, but ironically, as you might guess, they failed to hire me after I told them my offense. Too honest, I guess. Screw the prison hierarchy that has seeped into the general culture. I am an idea man, but struggle with the details that would put foundations under castles in the sky. Anyway I have no problem if the moderators wish to share my contact information directly with you and I can get your contact information. Don’t know if it will help, but being isolated isn’t getting me anywhere.

        • C

          You missed out on a job to trim weeds around telephone poles? You poor guy.
          Kidding aside, maybe you could start your own company and compete for the same contract when it comes time to renew and under cut them on pricing.
          Weary of struggling with my business I Googled “employment for sex offenders” and found a few organizations that might be helpful to us.
          Good luck, my friend!

  3. b mutha

    I paroled at the end of 2009 from a 10-year sentence. While still on parole, Goodwill hired me without asking about or checking my criminal history. Over the last two years, I took four civil service exams for positions in various departments of the City of San Francisco. My scores ranked me second, third, fifth, and seventeenth for Personnel Analyst, Administrative Analyst, Management Assistant, and Clerk, respectively. I attended eight interviews, took two additional technical exams, and accepted one conditional job offer. During the fingerprint background check, the City requested evidence of my rehabilitation for convictions stemming from my sole arrest in 1999. Examples of evidence listed in the request included letters from employers, community leaders, case workers, therapists, parole agents, and a pardon. In the five days allowed to submit these letters, I was able to collect six letters covering every category, except a governor’s pardon or parole agent’s praise. The City retracted its offer, citing insufficiency of evidence and proximity to vulnerable populations. The position was titled Personnel Analyst and sited on the second floor of an office building in the Recreation & Parks department.

    Ironically, my appeal of this disqualification coincides with the City’s consideration of an ordinance that would have excluded the conviction from the scope of its background check, if adopted as proposed. I worry that 290 registrants will be sacrificed during a compromise to placate the hysterical and politically insure elected officials’ careers.

    Not only do we pariahs need our own employment network, but also our own housing, dating, and travel expertise pools. The 290 legal, religious, medical, and technology professionals I encountered in captivity must have their counterparts among us yearning for restoration following rehabilitation.

    • Tim

      An employment network is needed for survival. There are too many talented and hard working people out of work, because they are on a list.
      Get a spine, SF, you’re more conservative than Georgia,

    • C

      I agree with everything you said. I have applied for countless Federal Jobs which resulted in mere nibbles. I am highly qualified IT professional with over 15 years of experience and a veteran. Maybe if I fell into a special category – black, disabled, gay, etc. I might get better action, but I can only surmise that a quick Google of my name and address turns up dirt that precludes me form the position and my online application goes straight to the virtual round file.

      I know there are many professionals out there who bear the PC 290 scarlet letter and can no longer find work in their trade. I actually developed my career after prison and it fell apart when the Megan’s law site went up. As a result I have built an IT consultancy that barely pays the bills. Perhaps it would be better if I were a better marketer and I am reluctant to engage in the traditional networking methods for fear that word of my background will spread like wildfire across my clientele.

      I need a full-time employee, but who can I trust to A) work as hard and care about my customers as much as I do and B) Trust to not out me to my clients when they almost certainly find out about my background.

      Our PC 290 club would be a great pool for a potential employee, but we get back to the trust issue. How can I know that a fellow RSO won’t re-offend against one of my clients?
      Perhaps the meetings at the ACLU building can be extended to incubate a group that helps each other to find employment, employees, business advice, housing, romance, and build trust among each other.

      Please chime in if you are interested in such an endeavor.

      • Tim

        “How can I know that a fellow RSO won’t re-offend against one of my clients?”
        I thought that, then quickly I realized that is the thought by employers that keeps me from getting hired.
        Everything else you say is what goes through my head and keeps me from pushing forward, fear of exposure, etc. So… getting beyond that, yes, a sub meeting at the ACLU bldg. sounds good to me.
        And, trimming weeds was a way better idea than sitting in a jail, which was the other choice given to me at the time.

        • C

          I did not realize this was a “find a job or go to jail” kind of deal. Yes, pulling weeds would be better.

          What is your profession/trade?

      • Joe

        @C – “How can I know that a (fellow) RSO won’t re-offend against one of my clients?”

        If you – with all you have been through and all the facts you know – are of this mindset, why in the world would a regular employer think any different? Can you really blame them? Game over.

        • C

          No, I don’t blame them a bit. Why on earth would I or anyone else risk such exposure? As the “IT Guy” I have the keys to my client’s kingdoms. I cannot hand a copy of those keys to another RSO just to help him out because I know what he has gone through. BTW – I would no sooner hand them to a perfect stranger non-RSO unless they had a stellar resume and passed a background check. There is too much at stake, like the income that pays my mortgage and feeds my family. To do so would be irresponsible.
          To really trust anyone, for me at least, boils down to developing to a relationship and getting to know them.
          I’ll bet there area lot of people in our group we can trust and I hope we can start building mutually beneficial relationships soon.

  4. Tim

    Surreal. When I was on probation, the therapist in our group, a tough ex policewoman, and no newbie to the system, encouraged us to find each other employment. I hired one guy for a time, and when I needed help, another guy got me a job where he worked. There are, or were, I don’t know, people within the system who saw the value of keeping us employed, instead of having us homeless and stressed out and on the road back to incarceration. What the government gives with a little hand its bigger hand foolishly takes away. That’s the mine field we have to negotiate to survive. Help each other to identify the mines, defuse some and get through. Some are going to get blown up. We are all in this together.

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