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View Diary: 'Ban the box' to keep ex-prisoners from being locked into a life of crime (88 comments)

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    I'm fine with businesses and people who hire ex-cons. I've done it myself. But I knew about his background. To be prohibited from asking is going way too far, in my opinion.

    Remember what Bill Clinton famously said about working hard and playing by the rules? Well, if you commit a felony, you didn't play by the rules. I might hire you and I might not, but I should not be banned from inquiring about it.

    Besides any of that, the proposals are unrealistic anyway, at least for private employers. The box is less for information than for integrity. We do background checks as a standard item anyway. Your record? It's a public record.

    Where this could have an impact is in public jobs. Do I want, for example, Seattle's public electric utility to be prohibited from checking the criminal record of a prospective employee who'll enter peoples' houses? What if he's been in the joint for sexual assault, or for burglary?

    The best advice I can give to an ex-offender is to be up front and hope for the best. I'll help out when it works to do it, but this ought to be my choice, and my choice alone.

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