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September 27, 2005 - Release: All Of Us Or None (US)

Groundbreaking Decision on Employment Discrimination

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Votes on Ending Bias Against People with

Contact: Dorsey Nunn, 415-516-9599 or Linda Evans, 510-219-0297

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San Francisco, CA - On Tuesday, September 27, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider a landmark resolution to end systemic discrimination in public employment practiced against people with past criminal records. The resolution is co-sponsored by Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Sophie Maxwell, and was initiated by All of Us or None as part of their campaign to end discrimination against former prisoners. All of Us or None is an organization of formerly-incarcerated people, prisoners, and their families, and a project of San Francisco-based Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

Discrimination against people with past criminal records is extensive in both public and private sector employment. Almost every employment application has a question or box requiring an applicant to disclose his or her past criminal record, usually without regard for whether convictions are job-related or how long ago the offenses occurred.

"Employment discrimination against people because of their past criminal records means thousands of people can't get jobs, can't pay rent or provide food and health care for their families," says Dorsey Nunn, Program Director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and an organizer with All of Us or None. "Ending this discrimination is part of a fight for our civil rights. Enough is enough! Once someone has completed a prison sentence, he or she should have a chance to rebuild their lives, not be subjected to lifelong punishment."

Many Bay Area organizations and community leaders have endorsed the All of Us or None campaign, including San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, Senior Ex-Offender Program, Center for Young Women,s Development, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Drug Policy Alliance, Chinese Progressive Association, among many others.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell states, "Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by rising incarceration rates. When people can't get jobs after being released from prison, their families and neighborhoods suffer. Eliminating discrimination against people because of their past records is about economic and community development."

Supervisor Tom Ammiano notes, "The City and County of San Francisco is committed to equal opportunity in city employment. Eliminating the box from the application for public employment will increase the pool of qualified employees. Public safety is increased, not decreased, when people are able to secure stable employment."

The All of Us or None resolution proposes modifications to hiring procedures for employment by the City and County of San Francisco. Specific proposals include:

1) Eliminate the question, "Have you been convicted in a court?" from the initial employment application for City and County employment.
2) Develop written policies specifying which job-related convictions, if any, would disqualify an applicant for a particular job category, and list these convictions as part of the job announcement for each position.
3) Limit the criminal background check to the specific job-related convictions defined on the job announcement, to comply with state and Federal law.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider the All of Us or None resolution at their meeting at 2 p.m., Tuesday, September 27, 2005 in Room 250 of San Francisco City Hall.

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