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County Mulling Computer Security Threats in Hiring Ex-Felons as Custodians

September 1, 2020

The cleaning industry is generally open in hiring people from a variety of backgrounds, including ex-offenders. Training and job opportunity can help ex-offenders turn their lives around while providing more workers in a field that is often looking for more help.

Officials in Missoula County, Montana, are considering the effects of hiring ex-felons to clean and maintain county buildings under a new custodial contract, NBC-TV reports. Ex-felons, even those convicted of theft or forgery, could be given the opportunity to work in county buildings under the proposed contract. However, the felony or theft would have to be three or more years in the past for the ex-offender to be considered for the position as custodians often have more physical access to computer servers and files than many other county employees.

A security audit performed last year recommended Missoula County take more precautions in hiring workers, including background checks. Although there were no known incidents of a security breach that prompted the inclusion of background checks for custodial staff, county officials want to limit their risks to ensure the security of servers and sensitive files in the county buildings. However, county officials also are mindful of the important role getting a job plays in meeting parole.

The initial proposal for the new custodial contract was a five-year ban on all convicted felons regardless of the crime. Most county officials agreed that a better option was a three-year ban for felons convicted of theft or forgery and no ban for other crimes like DUI or drugs. The proposal is currently being redrafted and will be brought back to county commissioners in the coming weeks.



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