Both parties unite to give ex-felons a second chance

  • Article by: Jim Ragsdale , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2013 - 8:32 AM

A national movement to rethink crime and punishment is gaining a foothold in Minnesota, pushing the state toward policies that help ex-offenders rebuild their lives in an age of instant background checks and eternal Internet mug shots.

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bellczarJul. 7, 13 9:34 PM

Problem with headline: no such thing as ex-felon. Say ex-offender.

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rshacklefordJul. 7, 1311:36 PM

As long as this will not apply to CEO's, Board members, elected officials, public gov't officials, regents, and their brethren. I don't think I want to see Jeffrey Skilling running anything other than a lemonade stand when he gets out...on early release (10 years cut off of his sentence recently)...because he is white and has great lawyers and "advantages" as Rep. Ray Dehn admitted that whites have access to.

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boozlesJul. 7, 1311:37 PM

Not all ex-felons re-offend. They should not have to be stigmatized forever if they do not re-offend or only have been charged once and have done their time and done everything asked for by the state. Humans make mistakes and many never re-offend.

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rvd420Jul. 8, 1312:07 AM

I think that 10 years after the successful completion of the sentence (even if the sentence is probation) that the conviction should be expunged unless the victim was physically hurt (i.e. rape, murder, assault)

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raleighmamaJul. 8, 1312:10 AM

Maybe if incentives, like tax breaks, were offered to hire ex-offenders, companies may stop rejecting them so often. Ban-the-box is great, until the interview, where ex-offenders get rejected.

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comradeJul. 8, 13 1:28 AM

I see a problem with the ban the box movement. If an employer hires a person convicted of a violent crime and that person commits a crime against the employer's other employees then who's liable for putting these other employees at risk? This will end up a field day for attorneys. There are valid reasons a person's personal history stays with them. It acts as a consequence for their behavior. Look what happened when bad credit was ignored during the fake housing boom. It may not seem fair but people need to accept that their actions have long term consequences. I, for one would not want a rapist or a murderer working in my business.

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tooty123Jul. 8, 13 1:31 AM

I'm glad there is finally bipartisan support for felons and even misdemeanors who have served their punishment in the justice system. Then they get out and find they follow them the rest of their lives. They can't find a job to support themselves or a family. Not a way to make them productive taxpaying citizens in the future. With so many applications done online these days, the person may not have to check a box, but the employers STILL check and see it and don't even give an interview. This just creates a vicious circle of the justice system involvement. They should be able to vote once they have completed their time and probation. One state allows them to vote even if they are in prison.

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gowcatsJul. 8, 13 5:02 AM

The idea certainly has merit. However, businesses should be protected from lawsuits that may arise (e.g., hire someone who has served time for assault, and that person then assaults a customer).

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owatonnabillJul. 8, 13 5:33 AM

owatonnabill recalls a magazine cartoon circa 1975 or so. Two cons were talking to each other in a prison cell. One says to the other: "you got 5 hears for robbing a convenience store? I got TEN years for possessing a cigarette". As long as we keep criminalizing addictions, we're gonna have a felon problem that is all out of proportion to that of the rest of the world. Some--many of these felons about which we're talking being giving a second chance, shouldn't be "felons" at all.

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localguyJul. 8, 13 6:52 AM

"Ban the box" only removes the checkbox from the preliminary application. An ex-felon's form won't go straight into the trash can without an interview. Criminal history can still be considered in the final hiring decision, but only after you've interviewed the person and so know a lot more about them

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