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Expanded Criminal Background Checks Proposed

By March 7, 2019 No Comments

In what appears to be a conflict with the goals of the First Step Act, The Marshall Project is reporting that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management “proposed late last month to expand criminal background disclosure requirements.” They want applicants for federal jobs to “divulge whether they have gone through diversion programs” such as drug court or veterans court offering rehabilitation instead of prison. Critics say this undermines sentencing alternatives that avoid negative “background checks that can limit jobs, housing and education.” “This is definitely surprising considering the president’s—and really the entire federal government’s—support for the First Step Act, whose premise was basically second chances,” said Somil Trivedi, an attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “This defeats the purpose of diversion.” There are “growing bipartisan movements in states and Congress to ‘ban the box,'” which would remove the check box asking about an applicant’s criminal record. Numerous cities and states have passed laws “limiting when employers can ask or see job applicants’ criminal backgrounds.”