As a criminology student, I understand the need for a criminal record check. You want to know the kind of person you’re hiring, especially if the work involves children. But I feel that discriminating against someone based on their criminal record goes against one of the main principles of the criminal justice system: rehabilitation. The whole point of the penitentiary system is to rehabilitate the offender from their deviant behaviour. While my schooling tells me that this is mostly not the case, my optimism in humankind wants me to believe that we should be able to give people a second chance. Most offenders have low chances of re-offending, their deterrence rates are low, especially if they can get a job and provide for themselves. If someone discriminates against their criminal record, it is extremely likely they will have to resort to crime to provide the necessary means of living. This also can be a problem when it comes to wrongful convictions, which is a passion of mine. If someone wrongfully convicted has yet to be exonerated but has been released, they most likely still have the conviction on their criminal record and this makes it increasingly harder for them to get a job. Even after they are exonerated, there is that bias against them and not all records are expunged, resulting in a large number of exonerees being unemployed or self-employed. I think if we gave ex-criminals second chances and allowed them to properly re-integrate into society by getting jobs, it could lower crime rates. Responsibility and designated hours would keep these people off the streets and give them a better chance at improving their life.
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