Thursday, February 23, 2006

Isaac Randolph Fights Discrimination Of Ex-Felons In City Hiring

SUPPORTS DISCRIMINATION OF GAYS & LESBIANS
Indianapolis City-County Councilor Isaac Randolph (R) doesn't think ex-felons are getting a fair shake when they apply for jobs with the city. Randolph is sponsoring Proposal 97, which he calls the "Second Chance Ordinance." It requires the Indianapolis Department of Administration to conduct a study to determine if changes in city hiring policies should be made to allow for the hiring of certain criminal offenders who have served their time.

Randolph's resolution notes that there are 3,500 residents of Marion County who are released from the Indiana Department of Corrections as ex-offenders each year. He reasons that, if these ex-offenders are unable to find job opportunities, they will most likely return to a life of crime. His idea is not without merit, although there are many jobs in city government that are probably not well-suited for ex-cons for a variety of reasons.

It is worth observing that Randolph doesn't share a similar compassion for Indianapolis' GLBT community in job-related matters. Despite campaigning in support of a gay rights ordinance when he was first elected to the council in 2003, he broke his pledge and twice voted against the HRO last year. He refused to discuss his flip-flop on the issue with anyone in the community.

It says a lot about Randolph as a person that he believes it is perfectly acceptable for employers, including the city, to discriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but he thinks it's unfair to discriminate against a person because of a past criminal record, which for many job positions is a reasonable basis for an employer to deny an offer of employment.

11 comments:

RiShawn Biddle said...

What it shows is that Randolph is inconsistent in his positions, which makes him no different than most politicians. And let's note, you seem to be inconsistent in your position on discrimination as well: Why should employers be able to not hire a non-violent offender if he has served his time and is staying on the straight and narrow? If we want to improve this city's economic situation, it will require re-integrating those ex-offenders back into society. Employer discimination doesn't do this.

As far as I'm concerned, fighting against discrimination of those who had served their time in prison makes sense so long as they don't commit another crime. I also believe that discrimination against gays is also wrong. But I also recognize not everyone sees it that way.

Advance Indiana said...

With all due respect RiShawn, many non-violent offenses touch on dishonesty. If someone has a history of theft or other acts of dishonesty, it is a valid concern of an employer whether to entrust such a person in a job that provides opportunity to take valuable goods, money or other things of value. Retailers will tell you that employee theft is often a much more serious problem than shoplifting. This will not be true of all jobs--it has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Kevin said...

rishawn says:

"What it shows is that Randolph is inconsistent in his positions, which makes him no different than most politicians."

So that makes it okay? Sorry. ANY politician who goes against his promise without an explanation or reasonable justification, should be held accountable as the hypocrite he is.

RiShawn Biddle said...

I didn't say that it was okay, Kevin and hypocracy isn't exactly tolerable with a politician. However I was noting that there seemed to be two hypocracies here: Randolph's and Welsh's. While Welsh is right that as much of the issue in nonviolent offenses is honesty -- and employers should be able to determine whether the prospective employee can stay on the straight and narrow -- most employers don't exactly take the time to do that. So a guy who may have worked 30 years without incident since getting out of prison still gets tagged because of a past incident.

What it comes down to is how do we get ex-cons off of the path to recidivism and welfare. The answer is to make it easier for them to join the mainstream and stay on the straight. It would probably be better to eliminate some categories of crime, namely drug-dealing, which in itself isn't a violent activity -- and besides a drug dealer who murders can get the death penalty just for, you know, being a murderer -- but that isn't going to happen.

Advance Indiana said...

To be fair, I should also point out that Sherron Franklin (D) is co-sponsoring the resolution with Randolph. She too voted against the HRO both times last year.

Rayburn said...

So why did Account Temps In Fort Wayne, Indiana refuse to hire a ex-offender? And why did Wal-Mart in Rochester, In also to refuse to hire a ex-offender who has done her time and got off probation early due to good behavior?

Anonymous said...

I hope someday employers and everyone as a society can look at ex-felons as normal people. They deserev another chance at life, and like stated if something doesnt ever change to help these people out they will most likley end up back in prison because of the lack of support. Everyone makes mistakes, young, middle-agged, and the old. Some mistakes are just worse than others but it doe not mean that they should be treated differently and separated from society if they have done their time. My fiance is getting ready to get out of prison. He will be 20 in March. I fear that he will have a really hard time finding a job. He was 16 when he was convicted of a felony. Don't you think someone that young deserves a chance at becoming something in life? I am not just speaking of my fiance, I am speaking for all of the other young kids that have hard lifes and pay the price. He was a teenager when he made these mistakes. Don't you think he deserves a chance to get his life on track. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the kind of support he has from me. I think employers should not be able to discriminate against ex-felons who are trying to put their lives back on track.

Ann said...

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/hireindianafelons/

Wendrell said...

I am 41 years old with a felony charge at the age of 16, 22 years ago and I still get turned down for employment opportunities that I am well skilled for!? Racism is not dead it is just in another form. For something that happed 22 years ago, should there still be relevant today?

GQCaseyG said...

I was convicted of Accesory to Felony Theft in 2003. I was not even actually present when or know of when the crime occurred. I just happened to be catching a ride from someone I thought and trusted to be a friend, and when he gets pulled over for expired tags, and then hits the gas.....next thing I know I have a gun pointed at my head after he hit a tree and was told to put my hands behind my back. In the end, I was young, ignorant to the law, and couldn't afford an attorney. Since family did not help, I ended up pleading to one felony in exchange for jail time served and probation, and I didn't realize at the time that it would bite me in the behind 6 years later still. I was convicted in Kansas and moved to Indiana to get a fresh start and better job opportunities to support me and my family. I am married and have two children to support and another from a previous relationship to which I am now legally obligated to pay child support for. I have been here since May of 2008, worked for one month and got laid off. I have been searching for work since June and here it is October, 4 months later and I am still unemployed. The state denies you unemployment because you haven't lived here for a year and you didn't work for the company for 6 months, and because of my conviction, my family is ineligible for public assistance because I am a convicted felon. So what am I supposed to do in the intermediate with only a high school education and military experience which is no good because I can't obtain security clearnance for government jobs that look to hire ex military. I have been to every temp agency, fast food restaraunt, factory, you name it and no one is willing to take a chance on me. Have filled out over 300 apps and only had 9 interviews in 4 months. And they say after you have served your time or probation that you have paid your debt to society, but yet you are still paying by not being allowed to be a productive and working citizen. Laws need to be changed for expungement periods and whether employers can ask regarding non violent and non person felonies so that people like myself and many others signing this petition have a chance in the future. Because of the discrimination and inability to be given a chance by society's employers, I now run the risk of being arrested and charged yet again for child support delinquency, because I can't even afford to pay my rent, and they still expect me to pay. To any lawmakers who read this petition, you need to revise your statuates and protect a criminal conviction over 3 years of age or non violent and non person as a piece of sensitive information that potential employers should not be allowed access to unless you are applying for a government or security job. I get all this treatment over being guilty for being associated and known to supposadely hang out with criminals according to America's fine law enforcement and standard bearers of the justice system. Considering I didn't see the guy for 2 months until the night he called me and invited to drive me to a party. God I sure love this country and the hatred that we have for each other when it comes to the well being of a provider and caretaker of children because of his past mistakes. The American Justice system and law makers make me sick!!! Equal rights for equal workers, even if they are convicted felons should not matter!!!

Highwaylizard said...

The discrimination against any class of citizen is prohibited by the Constitution. Unfortunately this is overlooked when it comes to hiring felons. To be certain, there are certain felons that will be more difficult to employ than others.

You have to ask yourself how realistic your view of the world is. If you will not employ someone who has served their time - what do you reasonably expect will happen? By not hiring felons (and thereby granting the the opportunity to prove their worth) you contribute as much to prisons as the felons themselves. You also promise the DOC job security and guarantee more taxes for working citizens to support the ever-growing DOC budget.

It is an egregious hypocrisy for a government to imprison its citizens, not permit or grant an early release when individual reformation has been demonstrated, and to hold fast to to the precept that reformation will not be achieved until the stroke of midnight of the last day of a sentence handed down by a judge twenty years earlier who knows nothing of the individual's progress toward self-reformation. It is further exacerbated when those same governments who imprisoned, "corrected" and then released those citizens refuses to employ them based on a felony conviction.