Wednesday, August 21

Editorial: Number of formerly incarcerated employees should be disclosed by UC

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The University of California prides itself on its diverse students with varying backgrounds and experiences. The same should be said for its employees.

The UC announced in July it will no longer ask prospective employees to mark on their job applications whether they have been convicted of a crime. Instead, potential employees will only have to reveal past crimes during a final background check before employment.

The policy, which goes into effect in October, is a positive step for the UC. Universities should be a place of second chances, and applications should afford formerly incarcerated people a fair chance of being assessed based on their merits before their backgrounds become factors.

In order to display the effectiveness of the change, the UC should disclose in its annual Staff Workforce Profile how many formerly incarcerated people are being hired. Releasing benchmark data of past levels of employment and the workplace demographics resulting from the policy change would help the public to assess whether the practice really does provide more job opportunities for applicants with criminal records.

To be clear, the new policy does not eliminate background checks altogether, but simply removes extra obstacles for applicants with criminal records. If a person with a criminal record applies, the hiring staff will assess the level of the crime and its relevance to the position being applied to, according to an email statement sent by a UC spokesperson to the Daily Californian. This, in turn, allows the UC to consider a wider pool of qualified workers.

UCLA has already taken strides to make formerly incarcerated students feel welcome in the Bruin community. The Underground Scholars Initiative, a group that provides resources to students who were incarcerated or have family members who were, had 12 UCLA students in its first graduating class in spring 2017.

This is a promising sign for the UC. Providing more job opportunities to those with criminal records won’t just help reduce recidivism rates in a state already plagued with overcrowded prisons, but also further improves the diversity of the University’s employment workforce.

But merely asking applicants to disclose prior criminal records at a later stage in the hiring process doesn’t guarantee hiring staff won’t be biased toward people with criminal records. As such, the UC should release data about the results of this policy so the public can evaluate its execution.

Of course, it may seem that publishing these employment statistics would pressure the UC to hire an incommensurate number of formerly incarcerated applicants, but that’s a hard stretch. Publishing hiring statistics of those with criminal records wouldn’t coerce the UC into drastically changing its employment practices, but would allow for groups like the Underground Scholars Initiative to see the efficacy of the hiring policy change and advocate for the needs of formerly incarcerated people should the policy not noticeably increase job opportunities for them.

After all, at an institution that grants diverse students the ability to better their futures through education, criminal records should not automatically disqualify hardworking and passionate employees from receiving job offers.

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  • Steven Czifra

    Creating equity does not just give formerly convicted people a second chance, but serves the community by allowing people to provide for themselves, and their families once they are released. Many don’t believe formerly incarcerated and convicted people should get jobs or educational opportunities before people without any criminal history. This line of reasoning, on the surface, does make some sense. After all, people without criminal histories seem more deserving. However, once a person is released, and has satisfied all of the court’s stipulations and orders, their debt to the community should end, and their opportunity to fully rejoin society should be, if not facilitated, at least not hindered by senseless policies and practices like felony boxes on job applications.

  • Aurora

    Today, many agencies deal with reproductive medicine. By means of procuring an egg from one woman and selecting a different woman to carry the fertilized embryo. This way, the biological mother and the surrogate are different women, and neither has a clear claim to the child. I have no experience with it but as far as I know surrogacy becoming widely popular. Despite the ban on it in numerous countries. I heard about medical center in Kiev that is extremely popular among fertility couples all over the globe. It’s called Biotexcom if I’m not mistaken. I fully understand the curious pull to know what a new person who is literally half of you would be like. And I have no problem adopting, but I definitely want to have at least 2 kids through surrogacy. I want to see what my children would look like. And the whole adoption between surrogate things is interesting. I think if everything played out correctly, I’d have adopted children and maybe one surrogate? I’m definitely adopting, no question about it, but not sure about surrogate yet. Although I’ve got a lot of time to think, I know adoption will happen. It’s too many good kids that need homes.

  • SinPatron

    Nearly 90 percent of people in prison are poor non violent drug offenders. Preventing these folks from becoming productive in society only supports racist drug laws and fuels the prison industrial complex.

    • Dre_loves_Trump

      90%? – more fake news stats to sway us towards a liberal agenda… prove it..

      • SinPatron

        I used to work in a prison release program. In ten years I only had two clients who were not drug addicts or suffering from mental illness