When New Mexico’s Gallup Independent Newspaper hired Guy Priel as an education reporter, they were unaware that he had been previously convicted of two felonies–once for assaulting a child and once for possessing child pornography. After being hired, Priel was sent into a school for a story. Fortunately, he was observed during his visit and no harm was done to any of the children.
When the newspaper found out about Priel’s past, they pointed to the recently enacted Ban the Box law, prohibiting employers from asking about criminal history on a job application. In response, State Senator Bill O’Neill, who co-sponsored the bill, stated that the law does not change the employer’s responsibility to investigate criminal history.
This unfortunate turn of events represents the unintended consequences that may result from some reintegration efforts. While Ban the Box prohibits employers from asking about criminal history at the outset of the application process, we continue to encourage employers to run thorough background checks, including criminal histories, as a part of the process.
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