9/1/16 Ban the Box

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Should criminals who’ve paid their debt to society get another chance?

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Some believe former criminals deserve an opportunity to make a fresh start. But some employers are reluctant to hire ex-cons. Data shows, that without a job, they’re more likely to return to a life of crime. Approximately two-thirds of the 637,000 released from prison each year will be rearrested within three years.

This is why about two-dozen states and several dozen cities have banned the box. This means employers may not require applicants to check a box indicating they have a criminal record. The theory is this would get job applicants in the door. Especially young, black and Hispanic men. Then it’s their responsibility to earn the job during the interview. Well, that’s theory.

It doesn’t work out that way, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study found that in Ban-the-Box jurisdictions young men without a college degree were less likely to be hired than elsewhere. Employment chances for young black men fell by 3.4% and 2.3% for Hispanics. This suggests employers are using other indicators on the job applications to pass-over those they suspect may have a criminal record.

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