I want to talk about a form of discrimination that is not widely mentioned. Yet though it is not widely mentioned it does though exist. Individuals with a criminal background are among the most discriminated minorities in this nation. A person with a background can no longer enjoy the fundamental rights that are afforded all Americans, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To many people the “American Dream” is a figment of the imagination. The basic necessities to maintain a productive and happy life cannot be met. People who possess a criminal background have extreme hardship in regards to finding meaningful employment and housing. The words “Background Check” on employment applications can have the mental effect as a punch to the stomach. The same happens in regards to housing. All people make mistakes. Why should a person with a criminal background continue to pay for a crime that the state has said is paid in full? The stigma that goes along with being labeled a felon is a heavy load that takes its toll on individuals. The lack of employment and housing opportunities has a direct correlation on the rise and rate of recidivism. I stand against criminal background checks because it opens the door for discrimination. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. So why continue to punish people who have made mistakes and have moved past them? Let a person’s current character be what counts. All people deserve a second chance. Some people even deserve a third or fourth chance.
March 13, 2014