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Progress in “ban the box” effort

Cumberland County is taking steps to join Durham County and a growing list of governmental bodies around the country that have “banned the box.” 

The “ban the box” campaign is, of course, a movement to convince employers of all kinds to alter their hiring practices so that questions about an applicant’s criminal record are not asked right up front on the initial job application. The concept is simple and sound: many employers have a box that applicants must check off in the job application form that asks whether they have a criminal record. When the box gets checked “yes,” that’s usually “all she wrote” for the applicant.

By “banning the box” and delaying questions about a criminal record for otherwise worthy candidates until later in the process, applicants at least get a shot to explain themselves.  

Especially in the aftermath of our contry’s decades-long “war on drugs,’ in which the number of Americans with criminal records of some kind has grown astronomically, this kind of common sense policy is an eminently logical and effective way to give folks who’ve truly cleaned up their acts a second chance.

Way to go, Cumberland!

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