Tucson’s New Move to Limit the Use of Criminal History in Hiring – Arizona Criminal Attorneys

arizona criminal attorneys discuss Tucson's move to limit criminal history in hiringTucson has become the first municipality in Arizona to make changes that will limit criminal history as a relevant factor when it comes to hiring new employees.  The city recently elected to remove questions about criminal history from its online job application form.  Interim City Manager Martha Durkin initially made the decision about a month ago after several meetings, including one session with the William E. Morris Institute for Justice.

In deciding to remove the questions concerning criminal history, Durkin determined that the questions were too broad and located near the front of the application; likely dissuading otherwise qualified applicants from completing the job application.  In conjunction with these changes, Durkin and the city of Tucson is also developing a plan to ensure its fair hiring policies are in place.  The plan will set out specifically at what point in the hiring process it is acceptable to enquire of an applicant as to their criminal history.

Tucson is the first municipality in Arizona to take such steps, but it is part of a national movement to adopt policies that reduce job barriers for those who have been convicted of misdemeanor or felony offenses.  Advocacy groups across the nation have lobbied governments like Tucson to increase fair hiring policies when it comes to those with criminal histories.

Michelle Natividad Rodriguez of the National Employment Project illustrated just one instance wherein traditional criminal history questions might eliminate the job prospects of a hard worker.  Rodriguez stated that after the recent recession, many older individuals who had worked for 40 plus years lost their jobs.  When they reapplied they met with a hurdle—their decades old conviction prevented most employers from providing them with due consideration.

The city of Tucson does require background checks for all jobs that involve handling cash, include access to sensitive data, and public safety positions.  For most entry level jobs, however, that do not involve working with money, children, or private information, a background check is not necessary.

Councilman Richard Fimbres, who has requested a discussion concerning the changes at the next meeting, stressed that new approaches like Tucson’s allow people an opportunity to once again become contributing members of society.  The city itself could save money through the implementation of this and like policies, as recidivism rates are rising and the city’s jail bed costs are similarly experiencing a pricing hike.

Roughly 70 million individuals nationwide have a criminal conviction or arrest on their record.  It often takes these individuals months or years to find job positions that will look past their record.  Tucson hopes its removal of this upfront barrier will assist individuals such as these and the city as a whole.

Ariano & Associates, PLLC:  Exemplary Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Arizona criminal defense lawyers at Ariano & Associates, PLLC applaud the efforts of the city of Tucson in removing barriers to the gainful employment of those with criminal records.  At Ariano & Associates, PLLC, we have long been aware of the obstacles faced by those with criminal records in the workforce.  As such, our first priority is always to ensure you never obtain a conviction on your record.  Our top rated criminal defense attorneys strive to obtain the best legal outcome for all clients charged with all manner of crimes.  Our skilled criminal defense lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist in your defense.  Our reputation for legal excellence has earned us an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau, along with numerous positive online reviews.  When you call Ariano & Associates, PLLC, you will always be connected directly to one of our experienced attorney staff.