Ban the Box Picking Up Momentum?

CRIME Suicidal Tendencies by Yaia
CRIME Suicidal Tendencies by Yaia (Photo credit: YAIAGIFT™)

 

Ban the Box Picking Up Momentum?

 

“Ban the Box” is a movement in States and communities to have employers eliminate questions about whether or not an applicant has a criminal background. These questions keep millions of people from even being considered for employment.

 

America’s passion for imprisonment driven by the “war on drugs” has resulted in a truly incredible proportion of the population with a criminal background.

 

So, we as a nation are confronted with a policy decision, “Do we make them unemployable as former criminals with all the costs that entails or do we facilitate re-entry into society?” It’s an important decision. The productivity, the potential, of millions of Americans is huge. Equally, the loss in tax money and social disruption of creating a permanent underclass is also huge.

 

I worked in criminal justice for some years. When I’m teaching my classes, I tell my students that it’s okay to tell me if they have committed a crime but never tell their classmates. I get that people who commit crimes have to re-enter or be some kind of pariah. Most people don’t. Media stoked fear of the other is a vicious ratings builder.

 

If someone has done their time and paid their penalty, they should have a second chance. Second chances are in a real way what America is about.

 

James Pilant

 

Target Will Stop Asking People Their Criminal Histories On Job Applications | ThinkProgress

 

The big box retailer Target will stop asking prospective employees about their criminal records on job applications, the company announced over the weekend. The decision signals an important move toward helping former inmates who struggle to find work because of employment discrimination.

 

Advocacy groups for ex-offenders’ rights have pushed for years to “Ban the Box,” a phrase referring to the box on an employment application that asks about someone’s criminal past. The question, administered before a person has a chance to even land an interview, can disqualify otherwise eligible candidates off the bat.

 

But, starting at the beginning of next year, Target will wait until making a provisional job offer before inquiring about a prospective employee’s criminal record, giving candidates the chance to make their case before an employer passes judgement. The company’s decision comes just a few months after Minnesota — where Target is headquartered — approved a “Ban the Box” statute.

 

“The Box” can be one of the main barriers of re-entry for people with a criminal past. When an employer sees that box checked, it can be an automatic disqualifier. And the practice is so widespread that it can really hurt the chances for employment for ex-offenders. Surveys show that%

 

via Target Will Stop Asking People Their Criminal Histories On Job Applications | ThinkProgress.

 

From around the web!

 

From the web site, Out and Employed ( I recommend this site – quite good. jp)

 

http://outandemployed.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/ban-the-box-update/

 

As I noted in my last post, this week is devoted to checking on the status of legislation affecting  ex-offenders.

 

 

One of the more effective strategies — and one that seems to be  gaining steam —  is the  ”Ban the Box”
grassroots campaign.  The box, of course,  is that section of the
employment application that asks about whether you have a criminal
record.  The question can come in a variety of forms as  blogger James Walker notes in his very comprehensive post. Sometimes
it’s even a series of questions, as I discovered when my son recently
applied at our local grocery store for a job as a bag boy.  These are
usually yes/no questions, typically followed by a space where you’re
asked to explain any charges in further detail.

 

The problem is that once you check ”Yes,” your application often
goes no further.  One human resources professional recently told me
that in cases where someone answered yes in an online application at
his former employer, the application was automatically deleted.

 

Since 2003, some 30 cities states and counties have eliminated the box and the question from applications.

 

 

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