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"Ban the Box" gives a second chance

Posted at 7:06 PM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 19:06:47-05
FORT MYERS, FLa. -- Raul Hernandez just got his first job. Like so many, he's eager to begin employment. "I just got a job interview at McDonalds. I'm 17. I'm getting my diploma."
 
Monday, Fort Myers city council made it easier for more people to get jobs in the city of palms by removing the question asking whether applicants have a felony on their record. "I think its an awesome opportunity. Theres a lot of felons in this state and once you get that felony, sometimes its hard to get a really good job," said Justin Hoke. 
 
"What we are trying to do  is give a fair shot to everybody. To make sure that everybody can apply for a job, go through the process," said City Manager, Saeed Kazemi. 
 
But does the new process ensure certain criminals aren't near your children ? "I think there should be some kind of filtering system as far as sexual offenders and violent crimes," Hoke said. 
 
I asked Fort Myers Mayor what that filtering system is, and presented him with the question, "How do we make sure that sex offenders or other criminals aren't working with children in Parks and Recreation or as Camp Counselors ?" "It's a fair question," Henderson said. "Our legal staff together with citizens who promoted the ban the box initiative to make sure individuals who have made those kind of decisions would not be permitted to supervise or be in charge of children."
 
Henderson is confident the background checks given to all employees will provide a safe working environment
and an environment all applicants will get a shot to work in despite of their mistakes. "A lot of people these days make their mistake, but as a human they look at their mistake and they realize, 'Wow, I did that. I'm not going to do that again," Hernandez said.