More than 1.6 million people in North Carolina have criminal records.

City Council hopeful, Dr. Lent C. Carr, II, The Community Success Initiative, the Raleigh Second Chance Alliance, Congregations for Social Justice, and the N.C. Justice Center all say removing that question in this state/city is a critical step toward former offenders finding jobs and the economic security that may keep them from returning to prison.The Community Success Initiative provides support for people coming out of prison and jail. Its founding director, Dennis Gadhdy, said 22,000 to 26,000 people come out of North Carolina's prisons each year.

As of August, more than 6,700 people were under the supervision of the state Department of Correction on probation or parole in Wake County alone. In Durham County, nearly 4,000 people are on probation or parole, according to Durham Second Chance Alliance members. Thousands more have criminal convictions.

This issue is "important for a couple of reasons,"  "Right now the economic crisis we're in makes it difficult for people to find employment, especially those reformed offenders who only seek a second chance to become a productive citizen of our community. We need to remove the disability barriers that exist for that segment of our community, so that those persons seeking a change in their lives can find jobs and assist in the spurring of economic growth to Raleigh, North Carolina's bottom line." Said Dr. Lent Carr at a recent Youth Empowerment Summit held at one of his Campaign functions in Southeast Raleigh. 

Employers who invest in people with criminal histories are ultimately investing in the safety of the greater community by helping them secure legitimate employment, he said.

Those of us concerned citizens pushing for the change in Raleigh are only proposing that the question be removed from the initial application so that employers won't be immediately dissuaded by a criminal record before learning more about a job candidate's experience, skills and personality. A criminal background check would still be required before the applicant is hired, but making it to the interview phase would give the applicant a chance to explain the nature of the crime, how long ago it occurred, incarceration and rehabilitation efforts.It is a fact that the ever present "Have You Been Convicted of a Felon" Box doesn't fairly give the reformed offender the chance to tell the purported employer "that he/she has changed course in their lives, and that they are not looking for a hand-me-out, but nothing more than a fair shake at living a crime free employed life.

It is my belief as your "change" candidate that removing this discriminative "felony box" will inevitably remove those ex-offenders from a potential future crime committed in our community, and the rewards for the greater base of Raleigh as a whole will be... less crime, fewer beat cops, more economic growth and lives we've invested in in the war on gangs, drugs and senseless homicides perpetrated at the expense of the lives of our youths; nominally known as: (Our Future). Therefore, if elected, I plan to push this reform initiative until passage and ratification has be won.

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