Last Tuesday, New Castle County Council officially gave its support to the administration's move to "ban the box."
At the Feb. 11 council session, council voted 12-0 to support the Gordon administration's dedication to the removal of any questions regarding criminal history on initial job applications.
The national "Ban the Box" campaign started in 2004 and has grown to include over a dozen states committed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recommendations to forgo the question.
The adoption does not eliminate criminal background checks; rather it delays the point at which criminal inquiries and background checks are conducted, and it does not include employees in the public services department.
At Tuesday afternoon's executive committee meeting, Councilman Bill Bell cited a recent case where a Wilmington 911 call center employee was arrested for failing to accurately document a call and for sharing confidential information with her boyfriend as a case where more screening would be called for.
"There's a lot of information coming through those call centers," he said. "That's my only concern, that it not affect public safety."
Committee pro tem Penrose Hollins said that the new law was a "small step" in the right direction in getting former prisoners back to contributing members of society.
"In this country, you can't be productive without a job," Hollins said.
He also said that Delaware has the highest recidivism rate out of all the states, and that they are simply recycling people in and out of prison without the goal of rehabilitation.
"We don't make them productive," he said. "So this is a good beginning, but we need the support of the business community to make sure that people are being given a second chance."
Councilman Bob Weiner agreed that the best way to reduce that recidivism rate was through job employment.