Don’t just dismiss those with criminal backgrounds

TO THE EDITOR:

Skipping background checks could be costly” (Sept. 11) makes some compelling points for conducting background checks for pre-employment offers. I have a unique perspective because I have a criminal felony conviction from more than 15 years ago, which I am candid and honest about when the matter comes up.

I urge employers and Automotive News readers to not simply dismiss a potential employee because of a criminal charge.

Because of the indiscretions of my youth, I have worked hard to prove that I am no longer the person one might infer from my background report.

A 2010 white paper titled “Potential of Redemption in Criminal Background Checks” by Alfred Blumstein and Kiminori Nakamura reveals that recidivism probability declines with time “clean” and continues to decline so that there is a point when a person with a criminal record “is of no greater risk than any counterpart.”

Furthermore, the paper discusses an age-crime curve that correlates a decline in criminal activity after a peak in the late teens and early adulthood, asserting that aging is one of the most powerful explanations of a halt to criminal activity.

So, while it is wise for employers to use the tools at their disposal, please understand that individuals with a criminal past should not continue to be punished for the rest of their lives, and certainly not in the most important self-sustaining part: their careers. There really are cases of redemption out there, and I encourage readers and potential employers to look for them.

DAVID B. DAHBURA, Controller, Cook Motorcars, Aberdeen, Md.