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IndyGo offers second chance to job applicants with criminal records

INDIANAPOILS (WISH) — People with criminal records can now apply to work for IndyGo.

IndyGo has always had to run background checks on its employees but now, in an effort to expand its pool of applicants, it’s pushing that process back until after people has been formally offered positions. In other words, the city bus service is not asking applicants to disclose past criminal records when applying for positions within the transportation company.

Lesley Gordon is vice president of communications and marketing with IndyGo. “We will not be doing extensive background checks until you are offered the job formally and then if there is a criminal background, we will definitely be looking at those on a case-by-case basis.”

Gordon says they will be looking past most charges if they are more than seven years old. However, she says, there is a line that they aren’t willing to cross: “Any crime dealing with children is definitely somewhere there is a fairly hard line.”

Some IndyGo riders say, for the most part, they support the move.

Rider Darren Ford said, “It depends. If it is like a misdemeanor stuff, I don’t really have any concerns. I think everybody deserves a chance to you know get their stuff together especially right now after the pandemic and everything.”

Gordon says when considering those with a criminal past they will consider the severity of the crime committed, time served, and how long ago the crime was committed.

“Obviously if they are driving, there are certain qualifications you have to have. If you are a mechanic, there are certain qualifications. If you are a general laborer in cleaning, there are certain qualifications,” Gordon said.

Riders Timothy Kemp says IndyGo’s policy change is an example of what the justice system should look like. “I mean, the whole point of our penal system is rehabilitation, so if we really believe that rehabilitation is the goal, then offering people a job once they return back home I think is a good option.”

In the past, IndyGo has hired people with criminal backgrounds; this is another step that designed to “help remove barriers for qualified applicants.”

The bus service on Wednesday had 20 open positions, from drivers to management positions, listed on its website. Gordon says that not having a clean record does not automatically disqualify someone from any of the positions.