System sets people up to continue to fail

Life is challenging enough, but many with criminal records are finding it increasingly difficult to find work, even if they hold a professional license.

I’m not talking about someone with a long list of felonies, your repeat offender. I’m talking about someone with one isolated incident almost a decade ago.

First of all, the criminal justice system is where a person pays their debt to society.

It is not society’s right (in this case potential employers) to decide to not interview or hire someone simply because they don’t like a charge they see on someone’s record.

The court took care of that issue long ago, and if there has been nothing further in the way of charges, wouldn’t it be fair to assume that person has been rehabilitated?

You would like the same consideration, correct?

Second of all, you do not know the circumstances surrounding that particular charge.

Take an assault for example; that can come about for various reasons.

The person may have been getting assaulted themselves or been the victim of harassment. People who sit in positions of power and make these determining decisions have obviously been there too long and forget what it’s like to be on the other side of the table.

Nobody should sit in judgment of someone else, especially when you weren’t there for the incident.

Senate Bill 391 would allow Pennsylvania to join 17 other states and allow many to expunge lower-level misdemeanors that currently are not eligible to be expunged under Pennsylvania law.

This would be seven years for third-degree offenses and ten years for second-degree offenses.

The catch is certain “violent” offenses such as simple assault are ineligible, as are offenses committed at the age of 25 or above.

This bill, if passed, needs to encompass first time simple assaults and first time acts after 25 if the person has shown that they have taken steps to improve their life.

The criminal record in an already tough economic situation actually serves as a potential for the individual to commit another crime – maybe another assault based out of frustration or the selling of drugs to make ends meet.

Get real, America.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

People make mistakes; forgive and allow them to move on from them at some point.

Chrissy Friday