Some Look To Remove Conviction Box On Job Applications - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Some Look To Remove Conviction Box On Job Applications

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(WLNS) - Its a very simple question, but the answer to whether it should be there is not a simple one.

"We know that one in four Americans has a criminal history, so this is an issue that we know affects a large part of Michiganders", said Sofia Nelson ACLU Fellow.

Michiganders who Sofia Nelson say should be given a chance to explain their conviction and what they've been doing since, instead of seeing their resumes instantly hit the trash.

"The problem is if you don't ask that question you essentially you have to move to stage two of your interview process," said Wendy Block Director of Health Policy MI Chamber of Commerce.

Which the Chamber of Commerce says would be inefficient for businesses both small and large.

"As a stand alone bill, I think it fails," said 9th District State Representative Harvey Santana.

Representative Harvey Santana says the issue is not as simple as checking a box or not, but a balance of employer versus employee rights.

"What we have to do is a very big comprehensive view of how we're putting people in prison, what we do when they're in prison and what's their plan when they get out prison," Representative Santana said.

A plan that the Department of Corrections is already working on with Chamber of Commerce and business groups.

The department says roughly 24 percent of convicted felons are finding jobs once they are released.

"We're trying to structure our vocational programs in prison after talking to business community members, what they need, what the jobs are out there available, train them in those skills with the idea they'll be employed once they leave," Marlan said.

At which Marlan says has shown those who are employed are thirty percent more likely to stay out of jail and not become a repeat offender.

It's a choice that lawmakers will decide that will have an impact on both employers and employees.

The bill does not prohibit employers from conducting background checks or asking the person if they've been convicted of a felony after the initial application.

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