Today I signed a law to #BanTheBox because everyone in #IL deserves a second chance when it comes to getting a job http://t.co/Ub1DGghchG
— Governor Pat Quinn (@GovernorQuinn) July 19, 2014
Everyone in Illinois deserves a second chance when it comes to getting a job . . . and employers have no right to know (well, to ask, really) whether a job applicant has ever been convicted of a crime.
Look, I'm sympathetic to people who would like to turn things around after they've paid their debt, especially in a society where we've felonized so many things that most of us can't go more than a few days without committing one felony or other. But as Matt said the other day, the most reliable indicator of future criminal behavior is past criminal behavior. I can't see solving the problem of too few jobs for ex-cons by trying to force employers to hire more of them against their wills . . . . and I question whether this will do anything except lead more employers to be quicker to listen to "gut feelings" about applicants. How accurate will those gut feelings, as influenced by personal attitudes about race, sex, and appearance, be? Are we setting ex-cons up to get more opportunities at the expense of employers, or are we setting up law-abiding people to be judged too risky by employers who aren't allowed to ask about their histories?