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Sex Offenders Off the Hook?
The state of Maryland is removing more than a thousand names from its Sex Offender Registry. A recent Court of Appeals ruling requires the Department of Corrections to remove the names of any offenders who committed their crimes before the registry was created in 1995. The state requires sex offenders to register for 15 years, 25 years or for life… depending on the severity of their crime. Corrections officials are already in the process of removing names. They expect about 1,400 people to be affected by this change, but before they get pulled off the list, there will be a check to make sure they haven’t re-offended.
Firefighters Screened for Sex-Crimes
New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo has signed a law that requires all volunteer firefighters to be checked against the state’s sex offender registry. The law applies to all new applicants and firefighters transferring from other departments. Two years ago, an EMT from the Albany area pleaded guilty to kidnapping and abusing three boys he met while on the job. He’s spending the next 20 years in prison, and now the goal is to prevent something like this from happening again. There are 92,000 volunteer firefighters in the state, and their work puts them in contact with people during very vulnerable times. The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York pushed for the new law because it will also help them weed out current members with convictions.
New Jersey Bans the Box
New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed the Opportunity to Compete Act into law, which makes his state the 13th in the nation to ban the box. Like initiatives in those other states and dozens of cities, this new law prevents employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stages of the hiring process.
The law, which doesn’t go into effect until March of 2015, is aimed at helping people get a fresh start after serving their debt to society. Employers with 15 employees or more will have to follow several guidelines when it comes to applicants with criminal histories, and they are not allowed to even consider records that have been expunged or pardoned. Violations will cost employers up to $10,000.