Ban the Box

Fair-Chance-Figure-1
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Nationwide over 100 cities and counties have adopted what is widely known as “ban the box” so that public employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a criminal record. These initiatives provide applicants a fair chance by removing the conviction history question on the job application and delaying the background check inquiry until later in the hiring.

18 states representing nearly every region of the country that have adopted the policies – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

8 states — Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island, Vermont — have removed the conviction history question on job applications for private employers, which advocates embrace as the next step in the evolution of these policies. Roughly, 4 of the 8 states with state-wide ban the box laws for private employers have lower unemployment than Texas. Ban the Box laws have no negative impact on private sector job creation.
Ban the Box: U.S. Cities, Counties, and States Adopt Fair Hiring Policies

Problem:
If citizens recently released from jail and prison are not able to find jobs, then the chance of recidivism rises and ultimately costing taxpayers more.

Solution(s):

  • A city and/or state law banning all private and/or public sector employers from asking about criminal history on paper and electronic applications
  • A cityand/or state law banning all private and/or public sector employers from asking about criminal history and completing background checks until after the first interview.
  • A city and/or state law banning all private and/or public sector employers from asking about criminal history and completing background checks until after a conditional offer.
  • Explore the different possibilities for non-profit employers such as but not limited to number of employees among other things.

What specific steps can we take to insure that we don’t discriminate against people with conviction histories? Ban the Box Campaign

  • Remove any question regarding conviction history from your organization’s job application, unless a background check is required by statute.
  • Consider that the job may not require a background check.
  • Limit background checks to positions requiring unsupervised contact with finances or vulnerable people (youth, elderly, disabled).
  • Postpone any background check until a finalist candidate has been selected.
  • If a background check is required for the position by statute, supply the job candidate with a copy of the background report. Allow that person to correct any inaccuracies.
  • Consider only convictions directly related to the responsibilities of the position, as required by Federal and state law. Do an individualized assessment of whether or not circumstances connected to a prior conviction will be repeated.
  • Allow the finalist to explain the circumstances of the conviction, and to offer evidence of his or her rehabilitation.

An Alternative to ‘Ban the Box’

Ban the Box Campaign

Houston Chronicle – Texas House OKs bill to ‘ban the box’ from state job applications

Sentencing Project – A Lifetime of Punishment: The Impact of the Felony Drug Ban on Welfare Benefits

Every Door Closed Barriers Facing Parents With Criminal Records

Criminal Background Checks Policy Update Forces Employers To Give Fair Shot To Ex-Offenders

National Law Review – Oregon Governor Signs ‘Ban the Box’ Legislation

Houston Chronicle – Texas House OKs bill to ‘ban the box’ from state job applications

Dozens of cities and states restrict employers from asking job applicants about criminal convictions

Nashville adopts ‘ban the box’ for most city job applications

Columbia City Council unanimously approves ‘ban the box’

Austin Monitor – Austin City Council Committee OKs ‘ban the box’ ordinance

Alternet – How Austin Became the First Southern City to ‘Ban the Box’ for Job Seekers With Felony Histories

National Law Review – Philadelphia Expands the Reach of Its ‘Ban the Box’ Ordinance

Ban the Box Laws Gaining Steam in Syracuse

Asheville, NC ‘Bans The Box’

‘Ban the Box’ proposal gaining support in Alabama

Texas Observer – Life Outside the Box

CEPR – Ex Offenders and the Labor Market

Dallas Observer – Dallas County Bans the Box, Delays Criminal Records Check for Applicants

New Republic – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Get Hired

MSNBC – States push to provide some ex-felons a second chance

City of Houston Joins Growing List of Cities Who’ve Chosen to “Ban the Box”

Ban the Box: Will the social justice effort reach Huntsville?

Pew – Health Impact Project Provides Funding to Promote Health in Southern and Appalachian States

Missouri Governor signs executive order to “Ban the Box” in state employment

Vermont Governor Signs Ban the Box Legislation; Connecticut Governor Expected to Sign Such Law

Rice University – “Ban the Box” Movement Gaining Momentum in Texas

Dallas County Human Resources Policy – Ban the Box

Business Journal – Sacramento City Council limits contractors’ ability to refuse ex-convict employees

Florida Times Union – 40 Jacksonville employers agree to new ‘Ban the Box’ initiative

LAist – L.A. Votes To ‘Ban The Box,’ Lowering Barriers To Employment For Formerly Incarcerated Individuals