On Employing Felons

For some reason the hiring of felons has become an issue in the Baltimore mayoral race.

In an act of what is being portrayed as unfairness the City of Baltimore requires applicants for employment to declare whether on not they have been convicted of a felony.

This seems to be common sense, doesn’t it? That you’d want to know if your new teacher’s aid was a convicted sex offender or a finance applicant had served time for embezzlement? I don’t advocate the banning of persons with criminal records from the commercial life of the nation, but when they are hired the employer has an obligation to find out if they do have such a record and then make a prudential judgement as to whether or nor the underlying crime is disqualifying.

But we have a whole industry that has grown up around the concept that there are “more young black men in prison than in college” as if this speaks to some underlying conspiracy or is an indictment of anything other than the lifestyle that landed the person in prision and that person’s own lack of a moral compass or of the person themselves.

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Hire felons if you wish. But make them declare it. Make managers sign off on the decision. And hold people accountable when felons repeat similar crimes against their employer.

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