Funny, that when the Scandal was its height here in Boston during 2002 and 2003, all kinds of criticism was leveled at the Archdiocese for failing to do criminal background checks on priests, employees, and the little old ladies who wash the altar linens. But when it comes to black men convicted of crimes, they need a second chance.
I originally wrote about this last October during the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign, when candidate Tom Reilly accused Deval Patrick of wanting to water down the system. Patrick had been listed on the web site of the Massachusetts Alliance to Reform CORI, which is behind the effort, but after Reilly’s accusations his name was removed. At the time Patrick said he didn’t support the legislation and distanced himself from the reform group. But now that Deval Patrick is governor he’s racing back to their embrace.
“There is a lot of talk about how this affects people’s ability to enter back into society,” said Cruz. “There should be reentry programs. But why should we change someone’s history to get them a job?”
Employers who agree to hire applicants with criminal backgrounds should be rewarded, he said, perhaps with tax breaks, but “I don’t think that giving employers limited information helps anybody, and I think it’s dangerous.”
Another double standard apparently. When it’s the Church, we must be stringent, but when it’s a particular minority group, that’s different.
For the record, I’m in favor of the use of criminal background checks for diocesan and parish employees and volunteers who work with the vulnerable, and in fact, I’ve said that we need to go beyond it to a system that checks whether a person was ever asked to leave a ministry in a different parish because of misconduct.
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