Granting a Second Chance

(April 12) – A bill by Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, to eliminate the criminal history box on initial job applications in order to boost employment and reduce recidivism in Colorado passed the House Judiciary Committee on a 6-5 party line vote.

“The Responsible Reentry bill is designed to assist those who have criminal records to obtain employment,” said Rep. McCann. “Employment is the most significant factor in decreasing recidivism, yet those who have served their time have a very difficult time finding employment. Removing this box from job applications grants individuals an opportunity to compete based on their individual qualifications.”

HB16-1388 prohibits employers in Colorado from asking about arrest or criminal history on initial job applications. It does not preclude employers from asking once candidates reach the interview phase. Research shows that face-to-face interaction with prospective employers is an effective approach to reduce barriers to employment. Any positions that legally require exclusion of people with certain records are exempted from this bill.

With the passage of Responsible Reentry, Colorado would join seven states that have enacted similar legislation.

The 6-5 vote sends the bill the House floor for second reading.

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