Mixer: Locked up, then locked out

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MixerBannerThis week, the Federal Reserve Board kept interest rates low, and vowed to keep them low for a “considerable time.”

And then there was the wonky we could raise rates down the road if the economy starts moving faster stuff.

The job market, says the Fed, is affected by myriad happenings: An economy that’s still sluggish, and recovering from a Great Recession. An older population. Jobs that are obsolete because of technology.

And then, there’s this little nugget that I found with the help of the Washington Post: The job market is also being affect by the number of people who have been convicted of a felony and are trying to find work.

Researchers at the Universities of Georgia and Minnesota reported that about 3 percent of American adults had a felony conviction on their record in 1980. Today, they say, that number has nearly tripled, to 8.4 percent.

Not all of those folks have been in prison, but it does shine a light on something that’s going on in the American economy.

The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other industrialized country in the world. And indeed, there’s a campaign – here in California, and in other states – to get rid of the felony check box on employment applications, to give ex-cons more of a chance in the job market.

Joe Mathews, California columnist for Zocalo Public Square, says his organization moderated a discussion about locking so many people up in America, and Sarah Rothbard had a piece on Zocalo about it.

Meanwhile, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell basically said in a statement today that – with regard to the latest scandals surrounding some of its players – “mistakes happen” and that those mistakes started with him. Goodell says it’s incumbent upon the league to make sure those mistakes don’t happen again.

Football is a pretty violent game. So is it any surprise that there are some violent players who have been accused of some egregious things?

There does seem to be a shift in turning a blind eye to it, Joe Mathews says, with more people calling for action against players who commit crimes.