If you have applied for a job in recent years, you may have had to check a little box indicating whether or not you have been arrested. According to The Star-Ledger, three Democratic senators in New Jersey are introducing a measure that will do away with this box and give job seekers a better chance to turn their lives around. The proposed legislation does not eliminate employers from performing background checks for criminal records in New Jersey, but it will hopefully give individuals with prior criminal convictions an opportunity to better market themselves.
It is important to help these individuals who have been convicted secure work, because adult offenders who are unable to find gainful employment are more likely to return to a life of crime. Sadly, recent statistics gathered by the Department of Corrections show that the re-arrest or recidivism rate for adult offenders is high in the Garden State. In fact, 55 percent of individuals incarcerated in New Jersey will be re-arrested, 43 percent will be re-convicted, and 31 percent will be re-incarcerated. Of the offenders rearrested, about half involved in the study were arrested within nine months of their release.