- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona’s most populous county is following the lead of state government by no longer asking most job applicants during early stages of the hiring process whether they have prior criminal convictions.

Maricopa County officials say the policy change approved by the Board of Supervisors and announced Wednesday is a way to lower recidivism rates and provide more opportunities for people who have served their sentences.

An executive order signed last month by Gov. Doug Ducey has the state government is implementing a similar policy.

County officials say the change to no longer ask about applicants’ criminal records on initial applications except for specific departments takes effect Jan. 1.

Applicants will still be required to undergo background checks once they’ve shown themselves qualified for the job.

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