Kevin Hurley, 55, was in prison for 30 years and five months. When he was released this year he had little hope of landing work because of his criminal history. He found, like other ex-offenders, that many job applications ask upfront about arrests or convictions, and employers' policies immediately reject them, says the Kansas City Star. Hurley, imprisoned for murder and robbery, was happy to learn that Target Corp. announced this week it will remove criminal history questions from its applications nationwide. The company joins a small but growing number of organizations nationwide in a “ban the box” movement to eliminate that kind of blank on application forms.
“It's really hard if no one wants to give you a chance,” Hurley said. “I never forget about those past years, but now I want to keep those years behind me … I want others to know what I went through to keep others from making the same mistakes.” Thanks to the TurnAround program for ex-offenders, offered by Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Hurley got workforce training and mentors. Eileen Bobowski of TurnAround said the recidivism rate among ex-offenders whom it has helped in the past two years was only 16 percent — remarkably lower than the 45 percent to 65 percent return-to-jail rates generally found among ex-offender populations.