A state representative has introduced a bill to help convicted
criminals who have served their time re-enter into society.
The bill introduced by Senator Harold Metts would "ban the
box" meaning remove a question on job applications regarding criminal
"Our current system of criminal justice and incarceration
amounts to a life sentence for many individuals, even after time served," said
Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence).
"We continue to punish individuals long after they have served their time and
paid their debt to society."
Metts said the bill would cut down on Rhode Island's recidivism rate of over 60-
percent because people with gainful employment are less likely to commit crimes.
"Punishments should certainly fit the crime, but repentance
and restoration are teachings we learn from the Bible," said Metts.
"Individuals who have done wrong and paid for their mistakes should not be
haunted for the rest of their lives. Yet many are currently not given a chance
to move on and are routinely screened out of many jobs at which they could be
successful and which they need to transition back to normal society."
Metts said he will also introduce a bill to help
ex-offenders gain access to jobs, housing, and opportunities available to other
Some individuals who have completed their sentences, who
have shown good conduct while incarcerated and who show a desire to
re-establish themselves as law-abiding members of society still face
impediments," said Metts. "That's unfortunate but understandable. Employers and
other decision-makers need some sort of assurance about a person's reliability."
To ensure prospective employers that ex-offenders have been
successful in their rehabilitation Metts proposes establishing a "certificate
of good conduct" that will be presented to parolees who meet certain
requirements. It would serve as an official determination of the parole board
that the person has achieved his or her rehabilitation and is ready to re-enter
must move beyond punishment," said Senator Metts. "We must have a system that
encourages restoration, that opens paths of opportunity for those who wish to
lead good lives. Encouraging good behavior and sincere efforts at
rehabilitation can help reduce recidivism and ultimately save taxpayer dollars."