Ex-cons in Ohio: getting on the state’s payroll is about to get easier

Angela Preston

Ohio’s governor John Kasich is trying to make it easier for ex-cons to get on the State of Ohio payroll. As reported today by the Columbus Dispatch, the Kasich administration is working with private organizations to remove questions concerning criminal history from state job applications. According to the article, the state will still conduct background checks, but later in the process—after a candidate has been screened for qualifications.

The Governor was quoted as saying “We have rules that are overly punitive. That’s just not right.” As part of the proposed changes, the Ohio prisons director is also working with state lawmakers to ease requirements for some jobs that call for a clear criminal record. The argument is that laws preventing ex-offenders from becoming a teacher, getting a professional license, working as a security guard or in a casino are overly restrictive and are keeping ex-offenders from getting back to work.

While the article contained conflicting information as to whether the state would be removing the check box on state employment forms, the proposed changes certainly appear to be part of the growing trend to “Ban the Box”—a movement that is gaining momentum across the country in both the public and private sectors. Tell us what you think.

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