Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Convicted Felons and The Workplace Are Incompatible

There is a political movement afloat to grant felons the special status that women, minority group members and homosexuals have from employment discrimination.

They want so-called, ex-offenders to be able to enter the workplace despite the despicable acts that gave them the Mark of Cain. We are talking about killers, rapists, robbers and thieves. Imagine having a small business and being forced to hire someone that frightens you and your employees?

If they succeed in obtaining this kind of protection, the job seeking felons you turn away will be able to file lawsuits against you.

The majority of felons are career criminals. Some argue that they have no choice but to return to crime because they are denied jobs. I will never claim to know the answer. The answer is not allowing society’s predators to invade your company and then prey on your company’s clients.

I’m requested by people to perform background investigations every day. I inform them that if they tell me in advance that these investigations are for pre-employment purposes I tell them about the tight constraints the FTC places on me and how they can use the information. As a result I get a lot of requests for these investigations for “other” purposes.

Felons do need to have shelter and food like everyone else and today’s information age makes that difficult. Who then has to hire these folks and for what jobs?

I have had to lobby the Arizona Legislature to keep them from letting felons work as private investigators. Allowing felons to be PI’s would be enabling and facilitating professional extortionists into a world where trust is paramount. From time to time I get a celebrity client and learn information that the tabloids would pay me more than the clients did for my services. My personal ethics cause me to work even harder to prevent that kind of a breach. Their secrets must be safe with me. What about people that have a history of ethical failure?

Before fingerprints were used as identification felons could change their name move to another town and get elected as the Sheriff, Mayor or Governor. We were very caviler in the old days. An armed robber would be arrested, have his gun taken, be convicted in court, go to prison and at the expiration of his sentence their guns were actually returned to the felons by prison staffers..

We should be replacing the illegal aliens we’ve not been deporting with felons out in the fields. Felons should be only allowed to work with other convicts or those who don’t have a problem with this group.

As I say this there are those rare exceptions where the crime was a one-time thing and rehabilitation is evident. On a case by case basis business owners may want to take a gamble on hiring someone with an ugly past. That should be the choice of the business owner.

Time periods are often conducive to behavior change. If an offender can stay clean for a decade after release from prison that’s a sign of success. Age is also a factor because often maturity helps reduce impulsive behavior.

I don’t care what happens I will protect my clients from criminals wherever and whenever I can.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul who or what's the name of the Organization in this political movement? Is a legislator behind it? Anyway to write a senator, assemlyman or congressman.

Anonymous said...

In general, I agree with you. But this is a fine line. I work with two felons... one passed a long line of cars to make a left turn and ended up hitting someone else and causing major bodily harm. This is when he was 18. He's a felon.

The other is a guy who at 21 got drunk and crashed into a guy's fence. He panicked and ran and filed a false insurance report and police report. He's a felon.

Both of them are great guys and employees. Like all laws, we try to have some "blanket policy" but somebody gets screwed somewhere. It's a shame though.

Dave R said...

I've occasionally worked with people with criminal convictions. (More misdeamenors and past drug use than major felonies, at least as far as I know.) Several were hard workers, better than some of their law-abiding coworkers. But a greater number were punks and slackers, even when they came in meaning to do well. And that's after making a voluntary, informed decision to give someone a chance. I imagine the punk/chip on the shoulder attitude would be even worse if we'd had no choice but to hire them.

The problem is the very nature of interviewing and hiring is "discrimination," in the neutral meaning of choosing among candidates on qualifications and aptitudes. The people behind this are taking anti-discrimination to its logical conclusion, but this simply isn't something government should be dictating to the private sector.

Courtney Marshall said...

I am ashamed by the ignorant, cruelty of this column. I am a twenty five year old white female, who at 18 made some poor choices and was convicted of felony theft. I have since went on to start a family and am pursing my master’s degree in business management. I am a moral, law abiding citizen who cannot find a job now, all because of one poor decision. Humans are just what the term says, human!! Everyone makes mistakes. I feel completely wronged by the fact that I am classified with murders and rapists. Do I not deserve the opportunity to make a successful life for my family because as a young adult I made a stupid mistake? Maybe before writing such ignorant things you should sit down and talk with people such as myself. I am labeled with a term that in no way fits the character of the person I am today.

Anonymous said...

Courtney I agree. I believe that all (and I mean ALL) people make mistakes. There will always be people who can not and will never learn from those mistakes and there are others that make mistakes move forward, grow up and make something wonderful out of themselves. I do not understand this mentality. I think it as little minded as racism and discrimination against the disabled. No one is perfect and never will be, just because you have not went to jail for a crime, does not mean you are without your issues, problems and even criminal action.

Anonymous said...

I am a convicted felon. Companies that are not hiring people who have paid their debt to society by serving their time, are only making matters worse. How do you suppose crime keeps getting worse? Someone makes a mistake and not only are they punished sent to prison but have to beg for their 2nd ammendment= rights and have to wait years to be able to do that.Also what do you expect to happen, should a convicted felon just be thrown away.How do you expect that a convicted felon who cleaned up his act is supposed to eat?To live.To support his or her family.Crime is worsened by the fact A so called Career criminal as you put it wouldn't have to resort to a career of crime if people like you weren't allowed to speak.Let's take your rights of speech away cause people like you force people like me to act, because We will not be oppressed forever.We have done our time and deserve to have our rights restored.Yes the right to work is everyones right.Who do you think you are?You have obviously never had to go through anything tough in your whole life.Were incompatible?Well GENIUS you figure out what to do with us then.People like you make me sick...You must realize if 1 in every 3 are a convicted felon in this country where will you stand when we finally have had enough and we all unite? Coward.

Crimefile said...

Dear Mr. Felon,
Let me begin by informing you of some simple facts. Serious crimes in America are committed by a small minority. Felons by nature are jaded folks that prey on the unsuspecting and helpless. Felons can’t control their urges, tempers or other behavior. Most felons repeat their mistakes and get caught for less than ten percent of their misdeeds.

You say one in three people are convicted felons. Maybe in your family or group of friends that’s true but it’s more like three in a hundred in the real world.

The largest employers in America are the somewhat small family run businesses. That means whoever they hire will be in close proximity to our spouses, children and other family members and sometimes close friends.

Businesses like carpet cleaners, pizza delivery drivers and cable TV installers are sent to people’s homes. Unfortunately criminals often seek these jobs so they van victimize the customers later. I don’t want to put the people who support me to be burglarized, raped or murdered by some felon I hired.

Any clever thief can and do put businesses of any size into Bankruptcy. This happens every day.

No I have no interest in risking my business or the lives of my family to hire you. No government can make me do that.

I’m sorry for the difficulties you made for yourself. I wish you well and perhaps you will be able convince someone to take a risk by hiring you.

No I won’t hire you.

As you get angry and call me a coward I already know you’re dangerous and can’t control yourself. I will take every possible step to protect my business and family from you.

Anonymous said...

I owned a busy restaurant and relied on a phony Internet outfit for background investigations. They “cleared” three felons that ran a credit card skimming operation on my customers. The financial damage was well over six figures.

One creep I hired followed home and raped and badly beat one of my customers after braking into her home.

I had no choice but to shut down my place and 34 other workers are without jobs as a result of poor screening.

Felons chose to ruin their own lives. Don’t hire them and let them ruin the lives of others.

Today I tell any politician I can to keep criminals off our streets and in prison where they belong. Euthanasia for anyone convicted of a second felony should be studied.

Annette Jewell said...

I think you are a unrealistic person not all felonys are career criminals. Some one like me who has a homicide conviction protecting myself from an abusive husband. My felony is twenty years old. I found a great company who gave me a chance.I became one of their best employees in two months with numbers better than there seasoned employees. Then Catholic Charities took over my company and they fired all felonys...DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT WAS NOT DISCRIMINATION... it was!!!! And with the laws the way they are we could do nothing abou it...I have been unemployed for over a year now. Applying for jobs in this new background check/no felony policy society. With no luck...Something does need to be done for people like me who work twice as hard and are grateful for descent employment and equal pay....

Crimefile said...

Actually manslaughter, and related convictions sould horrible but there can be success in those kinds of cases.
However most felony convictions involve theft, drugs and property destruction. That's where the failure rate is off the chart.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with this...if most of our felons got "the mark of cain" for the right reasons...selling a harmless plant to stay off of welfare or stealing from a multi-million dollar corporation that killed all the job opportunity in a persons area shouldn't constitute "the mark of cain". I will tell you what does constitute "the mark of cain", imposing unjust laws to kidnap and imprison people then turning them into slaves via fines all for a profit and reputation, does...

Anonymous said...

Mr Crimefile,
I am a felon, when I was 18 I rode my motor bike on a dirt road and hit a tree that had fallen over the road, I spent the next 2 weeks in hospital. after I was released I was arrested via warrant for burglary. An uninhabited mobile home, I never set foot in but had the good fortune to crash near, I was interrogated by a detective and he gave me a written statement to sign. I did not read the statement and I signed it because I trusted the detective and was told I would be be released in a few hours. That did not happen. My mother hired an attorney and because I signed a statement I had no recourse. 3 years probation, (cira 1982)

What answer do you have for this ?

I work in corp America, Pay my taxes and support law enforcement.

I have always found employment.

live and let live sometime