LA County is Looking to Give a "Fair Chance" at Jobs

Life is difficult for those who leave prison and try to live life on the outside as a felon.

When they try to apply for jobs, many like Lily Gonzalez  say potential employers weren't interested after learning about her past.

“I applied for jobs everywhere. I’d go in for an interview, and they’d be reviewing my resume, and then they’d get to the application and see the box [asking about a criminal record] … and just in their body language you could see they weren’t interested anymore.”

Los Angeles County may change that by joining the City of Los Angeles and others in the country with two motions approved by the Board of Supervisors.

These would recommend standards that would establish "fair chance" ordinances in the county.

The ordinances would do away with restrictions on employment that are based solely on prior criminal records.

Twenty-eight states and more than 150 counties and cities now have “ban the box” policies, which eliminate the check box on job applications that asks about prior criminal convictions.

The changes would apply to jobs with the county government, businesses that contract with the county and businesses that operate in unincorporated L.A. County.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas says this will greatly benefit these men and women.

“Once someone has paid his or her debt to society, they ought to be afforded the opportunity to become productive citizens in the context of their respective communities.” 

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