Gov. Eric Holcomb says a range of state agencies will no longer ask job applicants if they have been arrested or convicted of a crime.
The executive order, issued Thursday, aims to give Hoosiers with criminal records more chances to become state employees.
Right now, applicants for state job openings have to self-report any criminal history.
Holcomb’s order says this can make it hard for people with records to “have productive lives because of the stigma of their past.”
Now, he’s telling executive branch agencies – from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to the Department of Revenue – to strike questions about criminal history from most applications. They’ll still run background checks later in the hiring process.
It sends a message at a time when, as Indiana Chamber of Commerce CEO Kevin Brinegar recently said, businesses are also looking to hire more non-violent offenders.
“Some of them are getting training and skills while they’re in prison,” he says. “Is that something that employers need to look at, rather than just sort of having an across-the-board policy that says, ‘I’m not going to hire any convicted felon’?”
Brinegar says Indiana’s low unemployment rate means companies may have to, in his words, “lower their standards.”
For Holcomb’s part, the governor says he feels everyone deserves a second chance.