HOUSTON – Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee hosted a news conference Tuesday morning announcing the upcoming Harris County Fair Chance Policy.
The policy aims to remove barriers for job candidates with criminal histories when applying for positions with Harris County.
Under this policy, federal employers and private employers that contract with the government would be prevented from inquiring about a candidate’s conviction history for most positions in the county.
Watch the full press conference below:
If a conditional offer of employment is extended to the applicant, a department can screen the applicant’s criminal history.
“When you do the check earlier in the process and there hasn’t been a meaningful opportunity to engage the applicant, employers are more likely to screen that potential employee out of the process,” Menefee said.
According to Judge Lina Hidalgo, 70 million people in the United States have arrest or conviction records. Furthermore, over one million people in Harris County have an arrest or conviction record, Hidalgo said.
“Those positions should be open to residents from all walks of life,” Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo said the policy would also help the economy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as several people are struggling to find work.