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Viewers respond to report on background checks for job seekers with criminal records

Hari Sreenivasan reads viewer comments about a NewsHour Weekend signature segment describing employers doing background checks and the effect that has on people with a criminal record who struggle to find work.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    We turn now to Viewers Like You: Your comments about our recent work. This is some of what we heard after last Saturday's signature segment describing employers doing background checks and the effect that has on people with a criminal record who struggle to find work.

  • rematrav said:

    … let's let the people signing the paycheck decide whom they want to hire.

  • BobTheJanitor2 added:

    … if I'm the hiring manager and I have two applicants who are identical, except one has a record and one doesn't, I'm not going to flip a coin there: the one without the record will get the job.

    And there was this from hammerclaw: An employer has to be able to put trust and faith in the activities of their employees and cannot afford to have someone who has a history of criminal misconduct slipping up on the job.

    There were also those who saw it from the perspective of people with a criminal record who are trying to find work.

  • Richard Stanford commented:

    Either you've paid your debt to society, or you haven't… continuing to punish someone…serves no purpose and actively works against the rehabilitation.

  • From Michael Allard:

    Failing to integrate any offenders back into the system is, in effect, extending their punishment… by denying them their basic civil rights, we're denying them access to the opportunities to become productive citizens.

    Adrianne Fields Hall said: A criminal background doesn't make you unemployable. Actually…ex offenders are more reliable and grateful to have the job. Unlike people who feel entitled. I am aN honest hard working ex criminal

  • And from Susan Moore:

    I do think people should be given a second chance, but doesn't the employer have the right to know about the background? After all, they go to Facebook and look at what people post.

  • Owen Brunette commented:

    There probably needs to be more than one kind of background check for different employers and some kind of right to be forgotten / persecution of offenders legislation like in Europe. General employers shouldn't see anything over some age…

    And finally this from Dave Wescott: If you think that having a criminal record is tough, try being turned down for a job because of "your credit score"…

    As always, we welcome your feedback at pbs.org/newshour, on our Facebook page, or tweet us at @NewsHour.

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