An online poll conducted by PBS asked whether nonviolent offenses should be excluded from hiring decisions. The majority of those polled believe that a nonviolent offense should not be an obstacle to gaining employment, and therefore employment background checks should only be considered for those who have a violent history.
There are many criminal offenses that are nonviolent but still have serious consequences as far as the law is concerned. Fraud, theft, embezzlement, drug offenses including manufacturing or trafficking are all offenses that would be classified as nonviolent. These types of crimes that may be revealed on employment background checks are classified as felonies and can carry lengthy prison terms.
Doesn’t an employer have the right to know if a candidate has committed a serious crime? Of course they do! Just because an individual’s crime was classified as nonviolent certainly doesn’t make them harmless. Many entrepreneurs have put their blood, sweat and tears into starting and running a business and it’s common sense they would want to protect their hard work and be well informed of the background of their employees.
Statistics clearly show those that commit crimes continue to do so.
Bureau of Justice Statistics studies have found high rates of recidivism among released prisoners. One study tracked 404,638 prisoners in 30 states after their release from prison in 2005. The researchers found that:
•Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
•Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
•Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year.
•Property offenders were the most likely to be rearrested, with 82.1 percent of released property offenders arrested for a new crime compared with 76.9 percent of drug offenders, 73.6 percent of public order offenders and 71.3 percent of violent offenders.
The poll results would probably be quite different if those that were polled were business owners or CEOs.
See the PBS poll here.