I read in The Huffington Post recently a very interesting article concerning a landmark ordinance just passed in Richmond, California.  The Richmond City Council approved in a 6-1 vote an ordinance that forbids employers from requiring applicants to reveal their criminal history at any point during the application or hiring process.  This ordinance is the nation’s most comprehensive “Ban-the-Box” ordinance that in any way refers to the criminal history of the job applicant.  The ordinance will take effect in September.

 

The Richmond ordinance goes further than any of the other ordinance recently passed by other municipalities throughout the country, as it does not require applicants to disclose criminal histories even after hired.

The ordinance was introduced by Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles who told the Huffington Post:  “We’ve really taken it up a notch.”  By introducing one of the most comprehensive plans in the country, our hope is to reduce unemployment in Richmond, reduce recidivism in Richmond and give these people who want to, a chance to make a change.” Beckles noted that the ordinance is especially timely as California braces for the implementation of AB 109 a bill aimed at reducing prison overcrowding by releasing thousands of low-level inmates by the end of 2013.

“We’re going to have a lot of folks coming back from incarceration and looking for work here soon,” she said. Beckles also noted the Beckles also noted that the ordinance does make exceptions for “sensitive” jobs, including positions working with children and the elderly or positions in law enforcement.

The one dissenting vote belongs to Councilman Tom Butt, who said that although he agrees with the sentiment with “ban-the-box laws”, but that the Richmond ordinance goes too far. Other critics say that “Ban-the-Box” laws put employers in a potentially dangerous position. But Top of Form

Supporters say “Ban-the-Box” ordinances help give people with criminal histories a chance to rejoin society and the workforce in a positive manner.

Andres Abarra, a former inmate told the Wall Street Journal “Once we pay our debt, I think the playing field should be fair.”

We at Regan Law PLC applaud the Richmond, California City Council who had the courage to see the human potential and the possibilities, not only for the convicted felon, who reenters society and wants to rebuild their lives, care for their families and make a contribution to their community, but for the citizens. Surely the concerns voiced by opponents are real and those who express fear have valid arguments.  But the possibilities for good results are amazing; the possibility for success is tremendous. We will see if more municipalities have the courage to follow Richmond, California.

Below is a link to the Huffington Post article.  Read it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/ban-the-box-california_n_3708947.html?utm_hp_ref=business

 

About Martin E. Regan, Jr.

Year after year, Martin E. Regan Jr., the firm’s senior partner, has dedicated tireless efforts on behalf of the accused and produce wins for clients that a less determined advocate would have thought hopeless.  Martin E. Regan Jr.’s ability to tackle and win tough criminal cases has resulted in verdicts of acquittal in many highly publicized trials.