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Should your university or company have the right to ask about someone's prior convictions in their admission or job application?

What others said

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John Keenan

This is a good question. It's a question about the conflict of two rights; the rights of the employer to know who they are employing and the rights of citizens who have paid their dues to society by going to prison and paying for their crimes to not be penalized further at the crucial moment of reinsertion into society. The answer can only be expressed in the law, and in that respect the law has to be balanced between the needs of those two conflicting rights. At the end of the day it would clearly be self-defeating for society to have a law that doesn't protect the rights of the citizen who has paid his debt to society to have a return to active life. Furthermore, this "right of return" is essential to the coherence of society. Its absence would mean that those who committed a minor crime would have to be punished forever and society would have to pay forever for that punishment.

11:23 PM | April 7, 2016

Mahko ikematsu

It's none of their business.

6:18 PM | April 6, 2016

Matthew Young

I'm all for the 'ban the box' campaign where it is not OK to ask about prior convictions. People should be given a chance to have a fresh start and not have the mistakes of their youth dragging them down forever.

12:12 PM | April 6, 2016

Sara Henry Thomas

It’s not their business if a person is currently able to perform the duties of their job. Just like medical history is nobody’s business.

2:14 PM | April 5, 2016

Khalid Abdul Salaam

This just happened to me at the University of South Florida. After graduating from community college and finishing my first semester at USF, I was suspended for lack of divulging prior convictions, while attending community college this question was never posed.

2:14 PM | April 5, 2016


I don’t see how that affects someone’s productivity or performance.

2:14 PM | April 5, 2016


Can be a form of discrimination.

2:14 PM | April 5, 2016


People with certain criminal convictions probably shouldn't work certain positions. For example, it would be a big risk to hire someone charged with money laundering as your accountant. However, if the charge has no bearing on position in question, prior convictions should not be used to discriminate against job applicants.

2:14 PM | April 5, 2016