A Fresh Start for Ex-Felons

HARRISONBURG,Va. (WHSV)-- The Harrisonburg City Council approved the "banning the box" program. This opportunity gives convicted felons a better chance of finding jobs in the area.

Some people worry there is a stigma which can prevent them from being employed. This change takes the "box" that felons would check off city applications.

City workers will still do background checks, but they will just take place later in the hiring process.

Now that it's been approved, those impacted by this change say it will allow everyone to have a fresh start.

"I believe when they keep the box on the application, they are still in jail because they don't have the rights. So I believe it makes a lot healthier, it would start discussion back and forth and make our community a little more healthier," said Patricia Dunn, who attended the council meeting.

Virginia has not adopted a statewide policy on this issue. Yet, this change has already been enacted in many cities throughout Virginia; including Richmond, Alexandria, and Norfolk.

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