Via @scottlincicome comes this news about those horrible, horrible people at Koch Industries: “Koch Industries, one of the nation’s largest private companies, has removed questions about prior criminal convictions from its job applications, becoming the latest corporation to join a burgeoning movement trying to make it easier for ex-offenders to find work.” …Huh. That doesn’t sound horrible at all.
And it’s not. It is, in fact, an attempt to answer one of the persistent problems that we’re having with our penal system: what to do with, and for, the people who have been convicted of a felony, and then served their term. Theoretically, companies are prohibited from automatically discriminating against felons; as a practical matter, of course, it’s the easiest thing in the world to winnow out those applicants* right from the start. By shifting the background check farther along, companies like Koch Industries are trying to make it easier for qualified individuals with a bad past to get a job; this change in the process probably won’t help you if you’re a habitual thief, but it may if you’ve got one assault and battery conviction on your record, from twenty years ago.
In this particular case, of course, it’s also something where Koch Industries can live up to its owners’ libertarian-conservative principles. As the article notes, Charles and David Koch take the extremely reasonable position that we have far too many laws; it follows, then, that at least some felons out there are guilty of crimes that most people would concede should never have been crimes in the first place. It then follows from that that those felons, once they have served their time, are no more an inherent risk to be hired than any other applicant. So why not give them more of a chance?
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Or any other non-racial, non-cultural demographic group widely seen as being problematic.