Ban the Box makes it possible for more people with records to land job interviews.
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Fair Chance Policies: How ‘Ban the Box’ Helps Ex-Prisoners Get Jobs

Over 150 cities and 33 states are now adopting Ban the Box movement. This is a policy that prompts employers to first consider a candidate’s qualifications before looking at their conviction records.

The policy breathed its life from the works of All of Us or None.

Ban the Box makes it possible for more people with records to land job interviews.
Ban the Box makes it possible for more people with records to land job interviews. Photo by nappy from Pexels.

What Is ‘All of Us or None’?

This grassroots human and civil rights organization is dedicated to fighting for the rights of people currently and formerly incarcerated, as well as their families.

All of Us of None fights against the daily discrimination people deal with due to their arrest and/or conviction records. The goal of the organization is to “strengthen the voices” of those affected most by the fast-growing prison-industrial complex industry and mass incarceration in America.

Ban the Box and other Fair Chance initiatives have helped ex-convicts get over the stigmatization that comes with getting employment after prison. They can now confidently apply for jobs without having the fear of background checks being done on them.

The goal of Ban the Box is to get employers to remind the box on job applications that asks if the applicant has a criminal record. This is important because it allows hiring managers to prejudge applicants before even reading the rest of the application and resume.

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When applying to companies who practice the Ban the Box policy, applicants with criminal records improve their chances of getting invited to a job interview. 

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Are Ban the Box Policies Being Accepted?

These types of Fair Chance policies have gained acceptance over the years and have widely grown.

Former US President, Barack Obama, approved the Ban the Box policy for US government jobs.

He urged federal agencies to hold-up on running background checks on candidates until they have been shortlisted for hiring. This gives them a fair chance at showing the skills and knowledge and actually getting a job.

34 States Accept the Ban the Box Policy

The following 34 states have adopted the policy to Ban the Box on state government job applications statewide:

  1. Hawaii (1998)
  2. Massachusetts (2010)
  3. New Mexico (2010)
  4. Connecticut (2016, 2010)
  5. Colorado (2012)
  6. Minnesota (2013, 2009)
  7. Minnesota (2013, 2009)
  8. Maryland (2013)
  9. Rhode Island (2013)
  10. Illinois (2014, 2013)
  11. Delaware (2014)
  12. New Jersey (2014)
  13. Nebraska (2014)
  14. Georgia (2015)
  15. Oregon (2015)
  16. New York (2015)
  17. Ohio (2015)
  18. Vermont (2016, 2015)
  19. Virginia (2015)
  20. Louisiana (2016)
  21. Oklahoma (2016)
  22. Tennessee (2016)
  23. Missouri (2016)
  24. Wisconsin (2016)
  25. California (2017, 2013,2010)
  26. Arizona (2017)
  27. Nevada (2017)
  28. Indiana (2017)
  29. Pennsylvania (2017)
  30. Kentucky (2017)
  31. Utah (2017)
  32. Kansas (2018)
  33. Michigan (2018)
  34. Washington (2018)

11 States Adopt Ban the Box for Private Employers

The following 11 states have adopted a policy that requires removing the questions related to convictions for private employers. This is considered forward-thinking to the world of prison advocates and loved ones.

  1. Illinois
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. Oregon
  5. Connecticut
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Minnesota
  8. Vermont
  9. New Jersey
  10. Washington
  11. Hawaii

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17 Areas Adopted Ban the Box Policies for Government Contractors

Fair chance policies are also being extended to government contractors. To date, 17 of them have adopted them:

  1. Austin
  2. Baltimore
  3. Buffalo
  4. Chicago
  5. Columbia (MO)
  6. the District of Columbia
  7. Kansas City (MO)
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Montgomery County (MD)
  10. New York City
  11. Philadelphia
  12. Portland (OR)
  13. Prince George’s County (MD)
  14. Rochester
  15. San Francisco
  16. Seattle
  17. Spokane (WA)
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Policies Doing More Than Ban the Box

Most jurisdictions are using the practices set out in the 2012 US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance. This guidance has a lot to do with using arrest and conviction records to facilitate employment decisions.

More jurisdictions have started adopting measures that are doing more than what the Ban the Box policy is doing.

Another policy being adopted is target hiring. This makes companies delay their background checks until a time when the candidate has been actually considered for the job position.

They then consider the type of job one can do based on the conviction and the rehabilitation received.

Approximately 249 million US citizens have benefited from policies like Ban the Box. They are living in jurisdictions that have adopted these policies, giving felons and others with criminal pasts fair chances at getting jobs.

These fair chance policies not only benefit ex-prisoners, but also their families and communities directly linked to them. This also benefits the economy.

Some employers have also testified that hiring ex-prisoners benefits their re-entry into society. They say it helps them build discipline. Plus they have little time to slip back into old habits, reducing the chances of recidivism.

The bottom line is: Ban the Box gives ex-offenders chances by allowing their resumes and applications to stand on their own. That way, they actually get job interviews where they can woo employers before discussing their criminal pasts.

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The Felon’s 2019 Guide to Finding a Job & Becoming an Entrepreneur

Get tips to help you find a job after prison from this comprehensive guide for felons and anyone with a criminal record. Available as an eBook and in paperback format so you can send it directly to your loved one in prison.

Tina Karen
Tina Karen has been a lifestyle blogger for a while now. As she writes her many blog posts, she makes sure to highlight all the major points of interests rather than only emphasizing the areas she finds preferable. Tina possess a soft voice that comes in handy and enables her to do voice overs. She currently writes news articles for prison loved ones on the Prison Rideshare Network.