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Proposed Federal Changes May Follow Washtenaw County's Lead And Help More Former Inmates Find Work

May 9, 2016

Credit Creative Commons

Federal agencies could soon catch up to Washtenaw County when it comes to hiring individuals who have been incarcerated.

 

A ruling by President Obama would ban federal agencies from asking about an applicant's criminal history until the end of the hiring process. "Banning the Box" would improve the chances for employment for ex-convicts.  It’s already in place in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Washtenaw County .

Mary King is Director of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. She says finding work after incarceration is extremely difficult.

“I’ve worked with men and women who have returned to Washtenaw County from prison who have submitted a hundred or more applications and because they had to check that box, they never received a call back.  Over a hundred applications!  Can you imagine how discouraging that would be?”

The public has 60 days to comment on the federal ruling before it takes effect.

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— Amanda LeClaire is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact her at 734.487.3363 or email her aleclair@emich.edu