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Uber relaxes restrictions on nonviolent criminals becoming drivers in California

Uber will begin to allow more people with nonviolent criminal convictions to become drivers in California. According to The Wall Street Journal, Uber will lift its ban on certain nonviolent and nonsexual offenses, including petty theft and check fraud, that were previously flagged during background checks and prevented people from becoming drivers. Uber essentially says this is a way for it to offer work to people who might otherwise have a hard time finding it, even as they're trying to turn their lives around. "We should all be in favor of giving everyone a fair chance," Joe Sullivan, Uber's chief security officer, tells the Journal.

Uber may email applicants with resources that can help them

It's not stated whether this new policy will extend outside of California. Another policy, however, will certainly be exclusive to the state: Uber will begin to email drivers who are being rejected because of a felony conviction that they may be able to reduce under California's Proposition 47, a 2014 initiative that reclassifies certain drug felonies and thefts as misdemeanors. Uber will maintain its blanket ban on felonies, but applicants who reduce their conviction could become eligible. The Journal reports that Uber will also refer applicants with felony convictions to nonprofits dedicated to helping former inmates with jobs and skill training.

The updated screening policy is not meant to dramatically increase Uber's potential drivers, Sullivan tells the Journal. Only a small number of people are said to be covered under the changes. Still, the relaxed policy will mean a wider pool of applicants for Uber to draw from, which is key to growing its fleet.