Monday, December 5, 2016

Über hiring criminals

It should come as no surprise that the world's leading incarcerator would make it more difficult for companies to find people with spotless police records.

So Über, which according to Wikipedia is an "American worldwide online transportation network company," is changing its policy.  It has opened its doors to applicants who have certain nonviolent and non-sexual criminal records.

It actually initiated this policy earlier in 2016 in California.  Beginning in 2017 it will extend it to Connecticut and Rhode Island:
Uber's change in policy, which goes into effect early next year, will allow people with convictions for nonviolent misdemeanor offenses such as passing a bad check, resisting arrest, petty theft, prostitution, harassment and causing minor property damage to drive for the company. 
Previously, applicants with such records were automatically rejected if the offense occurred within the past seven years. Uber said it will continue to reject applicants who have felony convictions within the past seven years, as well as applicants with convictions for misdemeanor offenses that involve violence, sex crimes and serious motor vehicle violations.
Ryan McMaken reports that Connecticut and the rest of the US has been working hard to get more people behind bars or subject to extraordinary fines.
The War on Drugs brought longer prison terms and stiffer fines than had been the case in earlier decades. But drugs aren't the activity that have been leading to increasingly outsized punishments. In the United States today, we continue to witness what can perhaps be called "punishment inflation" in which fines and jail time for certain crimes have been increased above what punishments those same crimes brought in the past. 
He cites a 2015 report form the [Connecticut] legislature's Office of Legislative Research that lists numerous examples of punishment inflation. As the report states,
Based on our research, the legislature increased the penalty for at least 49 crimes from a misdemeanor to a felony from 1995 to 2015.
With so many regulations expanding the federal register each year, virtually the entire U.S. population has become criminalized.  As The Daily Caller noted in 2013:
The Federal Register is a daily digest published by the federal government since 1936. It contains proposed regulations from agencies, finalized rules, notices, corrections, and presidential documents. The 1936 Federal Register was 2,620 pages long. It has grown steadily since then, with the 2012 edition weighing in at 78,961 pages (it has topped 60,000 pages every year for the last 20 years). 
The Federal Register’s page count is by no means a perfect proxy for measuring regulatory burdens. A particularly onerous regulation might take up only a page or two, while one that costs relatively little could ramble on for dozens of pages. Despite this important shortcoming, it is still one of the more useful yardsticks we have, as it indicates a large and active federal government.
 Still think government works for you?

An early George Gershwin song from the musical "Miss 1917"

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