Feds Consider Taking Ex-Offenders Out of the Box

With nearly 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. having a criminal record, there is a call by civil rights organizations, politicians and some employers to change Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines to “ban the box”- the portion on a job application asking candidates to reveal details of their criminal history during the application process. While ban-the-box laws have not yet been decided on a federal level, some states are independently changing their guidelines. According to the New Haven Prison Reentry Initiative, Connecticut in June 2010 became the fourth state after Minnesota, New Mexico and Hawaii to enact ban-the-box laws for state jobs. The laws allow employers to ask about criminal history once they’re face to face with applicants and do not prohibit background checks. However, ban-the-box supporters say eliminating the question on applications gives job candidates an opportunity to get an interview and explain their past. Advocates hope to create a level playing field, which in turn can broaden an employer’s pool of qualified job candidates.

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