New Mexico Ban the Box Bill To Help People With Felony Drug History Find Work

For residents who live in New Mexico with a drug felony on tainting there record soon may not be needed to divulge this info to future employers. A piece of bi-partisan legislation was granted earlier this week by the Senate Public Affairs Committee that would eliminate the section on a job application that ask the applicant if they have ever been convicted of a crime.

The latest venture to “ban the box” in the Land of magic is Senate Bill 120, also known as the “Criminal Offender Employment Act,” which works to make it illegal for a private business to inquire into an person’s past felony convictions on the job application. This standard, which is backed by Senator Bill O’Neill and State Representative Alonzo Baldonado, would expand the growth of the current ban the box law pertaining to public employers over to the private sector.

Human rights activists commend the efforts behind the bill because they say applicants with a felony drug conviction are often approached with disregard early in the job selection process, which, we know, hinders their ability to secure proper employment – non the less if they are a more suitable fit than others lobbying for the same angle.

“Finding a job is one of the biggest barriers for people with criminal convictions even if they are qualified for the positions they are applying for,” Emily Kaltenbach, director of the New Mexico chapter of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “This bill is smart economic policy by helping boost our state’s economy and reducing unemployment.”

Details show that 1 in every 4 American adults has a criminal backround, with a 70% of people with out a job after they are released from prison. Sadly, this puts the majority of these citizens back into a world of felonious indiscretion – a diamond of a flawed structure that has a helping hand to a cycle of criminal downtrodden rather than a life of forward momentum.

“This bill is also smart on crime by focusing our resources to help reduce recidivism, rather than feeding into a cycle of incarceration,” said Kaltenbach. “We know that people with steady employment are less likely to commit crimes. And finally, this bill is about supporting our New Mexico families.  An economically stable family is a healthy family.”

If the bill turns law, New Mexico will partner with six other states, including Hawaii, Kansas, and New York, which have effectively granted measures to ban the criminal conviction box in the private sector. It is a change that would increasingly benefit individuals who were convicted of a felony in their time of youth, and go on to be haunted by the toll of its reverberations.

Ban the Box campaigns such as this look to cancel out the stereotypes forced upon people with a criminal background, even more towards offenders of cannabis-related offenses, by forcing employers to hire workers based on their skill set and overall qualifications rather than focus on their previous drawbacks. And while the bill would not stop employers from proceeding with background checks or inquiring about criminal history during the interview, it at least gives those with a dented past to get a foot in the door rather than an application over looked with a predetermined answer.


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