“Ban the Box” is a movement to prohibit employers from requiring disclosure of past criminal convictions on employment applications. As we have discussed in this course, recidivism risk is much higher for offenders who are unable to obtain employment after release from incarceration. Please watch a short video on this topic at this link https://youtu.be/ld57EWswXmo, read the articles on this topic posted under the Course Materials tab, conduct your own research on the subject, then respond to the following discussion question. Be sure to include reference citations to support your analysis. Also, be sure to provide two insightful responses to at least two of your fellow students’ primary posts.
Discussion Question: in the context of community corrections, what would be the primary benefits and the primary detriments if “ban the box” were enacted as a federal law applicable to all private sector employers.
In 2004, the All of Us or None started the Ban the Box Movement, which is a national civil and human rights coalition comprised of formerly incarcerated people. The main focus of the Movement was to get rid of discrimination faced by people with criminal records (Atkinson & Lockwood, 2016). One thing about removing the box is that employers can select the most qualified applicants without the distraction of the criminal record, which in many cases automatically eliminates them from being considered for employment. A benefit from the Ban the Box concept is that local and state governments can increase tax offers by taking away barriers to employment for people with records (Atkinson & Lockwood, 2016). Another benefit is that when hiring people with records can facilitate public safety by reducing recidivism. Also, it has been proven that employment is the one of the most successful interventions. Not only do individuals gain benefits from being employed, but employers benefit from fair hiring policies and individuals with records tend to be more productive on the job than people without records (Atkinson & Lockwood, 2016). Everyone deserves a second chance and just because someone has record does not make them any less qualified for a job nor should that be taken away from them.
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As of 2011, studies showed that there were approximately 65 million Americans who had a criminal record that could come back to haunt them during a background check (National Employment Law Project, 2014). These are 65 million people who question whether or not they will be able to obtain employment due to one question on a job application. “Ban the box” seeks to change this. In their opinion, employers should not have the ability to ask on an initial application whether or not a potential employee has ever been convicted of a crime. This is already being utilized in many cities. In San Fransico, California, only finalist employees can be subjected to a background search. In Norwich, Connecticut, a background search can only be completed after a conditional offer of employment (National Employment Law Project, 2014).There are both positives and negatives to banning the ability to pre-screen potential employees for criminal records. On the positive side, it must be taken into consideration that when a person is convicted of a crime, they then serve their time and pay their debt to society. By all rights, they are due to the ability to begin again. Also of great importance is the fact that recidivism is greatly reduced when a person who has left prison is able to secure employment (Sugie, 2014). However, the negative aspects of this change also have to be taken into consideration. To begin with, the legislation for this change varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as is seen above. This means that an employer who operates in multiple areas must be aware of the rules for each in order to comply with the law (Trocko, 2014). Also of importance is the amount of time that employers will spend in the interviewing process. Imagine a large amount of frustration that an employer will feel when they have conducted multiple interviews only to discover that the person they have been speaking with has an extensive history of theft and burglary. This concern will cost the employer both valuable time and money, only to discover that the potential employee is no longer to be considered an option (Trocko, 2014).
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