Waterloo Rev. fights to remove felony question from job apps - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo Rev. fights to remove felony question from job apps

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

It can be said a criminal's punishment goes beyond the time they serve -- especially when trying to return back to normal life.

Every job and every housing form has a box asking if you have ever been convicted of a felony.

Reverend Abraham Funchess, Director of the Human Rights Commission in Waterloo, has joined the nationwide campaign of fighting to remove the box from applications in Waterloo.

"Quite frankly, people with felonies in their background or criminal arrest records in their background are regulated to a second-class citizenship, and we believe that it's time to challenge that status quo and make life more bearable for them," Funchess said.

But he also wants the box removed from rental applications -- and that doesn't sit well with landlords.

"Our only caveat is because there are so many small time landlords," Mark Pregler, president of Black Hawk Landlords Association said. "And by banning the box, it could accidentally put a sex offender in an apartment building full of kids. There's too many what-ifs to ban the box from rental applications."

Funchess said employers and landlords could still screen for that in an interview.

"Those types of things, employers and landlords still have the discretion to make the right kind of decisions based on what the actual background offense was," he said.

And those against the action will keep the conversation going as well.

"We have a history of working together," Pregler said. "We just need to keep talking."

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