Closings & Delays

Banning the initial criminal history screening on job applications

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

You know that part of a job application  that asks you to share your criminal history, if applicable?  State Lawmakers from both parties are hoping to remove that part of the application.  But an overall background check would still apply.

Timothy White and his mom oversee a non-profit to help ex-offenders get back on their feet.  They know what it's like because they've been incarcerated.

White says, "Robbery and kidnapping.  I served my 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 birthday in prison, I missed the huge chunk of my life and I want to get back into the swing of things."

After serving time, White tried to get a job.

"It was recent enough for employers not to even want to interview me and I didn't think it was fair because you're judging me of a piece of paper," says White.

That's why he's encouraging lawmakers to support "Ban The Box."  It's a policy to remove the criminal history questions from a job application.

"So allowing me to introduce myself and what I've learned and the man I've turned into now, is a huge part of getting a job," says White.

Representative Thomas Murt is the co-sponsor of House Resolution 430 (Ban The Box).  He says, "We're not removing the criminal background check, we are delaying it until a candidate is further vetted for employment."

Murt says the bi-partisan move would also aid 10% of the inmate population who are veterans, like himself.

"Combat vets with distinguished service records and clearly made mistakes, used bad judgment but I also would say they deserve a second chance," says Murt.

But there are exceptions.  Employers will have the choice to keep the questions on the application.

Murt says, "For some one who wants to be a police officer, or work in the game industry.  We also discussed human services and for individuals that might work with vulnerable populations, elderly or children."

White says, "It's life or death. It's the highest way to reduce recidivism to gain employment as soon as possible."

The Director of the Legislative Black Caucus, Brandon Flood, says over 18 states have adopted a similar policy.  100 cities have, including 6 in the Commonwealth.

Flood says the policy would save the money in the State Department of Corrections.  He says, "How full and bursting at the seams our prisons are and how much funds are being allocated to the Department of Corrections. Over $2 billion a year, so we're looking for ways to reduce recidivism."

Representative Daryl Metcalfe is the majority chairman of the House State Government Committee.  That's where the resolution sits now.  We reached out to Metcalfe to see if he expects to measure to move onto the House floor, but he hasn't responded.


Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.