To give applicants with a past a fair chance, employers should ‘ban the box’

The Opinion Zone

072612 (Photo by Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post). WEST PALM BEACH. Applicants fill out paperwork. The School District of Palm Beach County's Department of Transportation is encouraging job seekers to apply for school bus drivers at a jobs fair at its Central Transportation Facility on Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach Thursday. In addition to exceptional retirement benefits, competitive pay and health insurance. Applicants fill out paperwork for a job with the School District of Palm Beach County in 2012. (Photo by Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post)

“You make a mistake and there are no second chances, even if you want to do the right thing. Nobody will hire you once you have a record.”

That was the voice of a young man who spoke at a community meeting last week in West Palm Beach’s Gaines Park, in a neighborhood that’s been wracked this summer with gun violence — and which generally sees too much of crime, drugs and joblessness.

There are, we all know, no easy solutions to this problem. But it would certainly help if we could make it easier for people with criminal records to get jobs once they have served their prison time or probation.

As many as 1.5 million Floridians have felony convictions, according to the American Civil…

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