Holcomb bars criminal history question for most state job applicants

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Applicants for state jobs in the executive branch will no longer be asked if they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.

Gov. Eric Holcomb Thursday signed an executive order stating applications for state jobs will no longer ask the question.  

Holcomb signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 312, which forbids cities from banning employers from asking the question on job applications. But he also vowed he would “ban the box” on most state job applications that asks job-seekers to disclose prior convictions. The executive order follows through on that pledge.

“This executive order will give Hoosiers with criminal records a second chance by helping them overcome the stigma of their past and live productive lives,” Holcomb said in a statement. “We are giving those with criminal records more opportunity to seek public service as a state employee.”  

Currently, state employment applications ask people to report if they have been convicted of a crime that has not been expunged or sealed by a court and if they have been arrested for a crime with charges still pending.

The state will continue to conduct background checks on applicants before hiring them.  Where state law specifically prohibits employment based on certain convictions or pending charges, such as a family case manager with the Department of Child Services, applicants will be asked about their criminal records.  

“While I do not believe governments should dictate employers’ hiring processes, I believe everyone deserves a second chance,” Holcomb said. “For that reason, the state agencies under my watch will provide those with a criminal record more opportunity to join the workforce.”

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