OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) –Governor Mary Fallin has signed an executive order to direct state agencies to remove questions asking about prior felony convictions on job applications.
"Employment after a felony conviction is always a challenge, but the ability to gain employment is a critical and necessary component in reducing recidivism and for those individuals to lead productive and successful lives," Gov. Fallin said. "Thus, we should remove unnecessary barriers to employment opportunities for Oklahomans with felony convictions. State hiring policies should allow full and fair consideration of all applicants."
Governor Fallin says one in 12 Oklahomans is a convicted felon and more than 55,000 people are either in prison or under supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. She noted that many of the people were convicted for non-violent offenses.
Under Executive Order 2016-03, Oklahoma joins 19 states and more than 100 cities and counties across the country in removing barriers for workers with conviction records.
"This order is intended to provide state job applicants at least the initial opportunity for consideration for employment, an opportunity to discuss their criminal record and provide information that indicates rehabilitation, and allow applicants to be considered based upon their qualifications without the stigma of a conviction record," said Fallin.
The order still allows agencies to conduct background checks on prospective employees. Convicted felons can still be prohibited from having sensitive job positions with certain convictions.