Columbus Dispatch: Newark poised to join entities dropping ‘felon’ box

By Eric LyttleThe Columbus Dispatch  •  Tuesday July 21, 2015 6:44 AM

NEWARK, Ohio — The man identified himself only as No. 373882.

He said it was his former prison identification number and was, in reality, the only identification the city of Newark, and most of the rest of the world, really cared about when it came to finding a job.

A box, near the top of most employment applications, asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Checking the box, many feel, is a sure path to the employment-prospect discard pile.

Former Inmate 373882 called it “a second punishment by way of sanctions and restrictions.”

“Once released from jail, prison or probation, you’re faced with the stigma of being classified as a felon, a law-breaker,” he told a Newark City Council committee, “which promotes not being viewed as trustworthy in the eyes of the community and places a mark on a guy like me applying for a city job.”

The former inmate was one of 10 people who addressed the council’s personnel committee on June 29, imploring the city to remove that particular box from its job applications.

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