City application removes felony question

Although they have paid their debt and served their time, people with a criminal background are often faced with a challenge to find employment. Mayor Henry and his advisory council are implementing a new initiative to give them a second chance at a better life.

Posted: Nov. 21, 2018 6:39 PM
Updated: Nov. 21, 2018 11:07 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Fort Wayne is going to Ban the Box.

The city removed the question about whether a person has been charged with a felony from the city's job application.

"We're seeing this across the country. This one is city of Fort Wayne specific, so people who are looking for employment through the city of Fort Wayne in our local government offices will no longer have to check off a box that asks if they've been convicted of a felony in the past," John Perlich, Director of Public Information said.

There are currently 33 states and more than 150 cities and counties doing this.

"There may be individuals who made mistakes in the past and they have learned and grown from those, so we don't want to automatically disqualify someone because they may have made a mistake in the past, but we also want to assure residents of Fort Wayne that our city employees are the best employees possible," Perlich added.

The NAACP said people who've served their time who gain employment are more than 1/3 less likely than their counterparts to return to crime and are more capable of turning their lives around permanently.

"I think it's a very good idea. It does give people a second chance to better themselves and that's what most people want, just a second chance," Jonna Powers said.

Perlich said applicants will still go through drug testing and go through the background check process, so residents don't have to worry about their safety.

They just want to make sure they provide as many opportunities as possible to see growth and success in the city.

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