‘Banning the Box’ Helps Prisoners Become People
In Virginia, former inmates will no longer have to check a box on employment applications saying whether or not they have been convicted of a felony. Should this be the standard nationwide?
For too many people, that question is the difference between living a life of dignity and living a life of shame and bitterness. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe made a bold move with this statewide initiative which will prohibit state agencies and public employers from disqualifying job seekers if they have a criminal record. This makes it easier for the formerly incarcerated to find employment and rebuild their lives. It also, most importantly, brings us, as a nation, one step closer to humanity.
Before naysayers start crying about sex offenders and murderers working in public places and McAuliffe letting so-called crazy people run free and wreak havoc on our lives, “banning the box” does not stop employers from doing background checks on applicants. It simply keeps employers from dismissing a person based solely on the knowledge that he or she spent time in jail for any reason.