Commentary

“Ban the box” momentum grows; time for NC to take action

As noted in the post below, there has been some very encouraging news at the federal level in recent days surrounding the issue of criminal justice reform. As attorney Daniel Bowes reported, President Obama recently announced some important bipartisan progress in addressing America’s over-incarceration problem — including a move to “ban the box” in federal hiring:

“I’m taking action to ‘Ban the Box’ for the most competitive job at federal agencies–the federal government should not use criminal history to screen out applicants before we’ve even looked at their qualifications.” The President directed the Office of Personnel Management to take action to modify its rules to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process. In doing so, he cited several private employers, including Walmart, Target, Koch Industries, and Home Depot, as well as 19 states that have banned the box. President Obama explained his hope is that this collective action to Ban the Box makes the practice of not automatically excluding applicants with criminal records from opportunities “a basic principle across our society.”
In light of this progress, a growing chorus is calling for similar action at the state level. This is from a media release distributed this morning by the North Carolina Justice Center:

North Carolinians call on Gov. McCrory, legislators to “Ban the Box” for public employment
More than 1,000 North Carolinians visiting the NC State Fair signed a petition in support of fair hiring procedures that would prevent exclusion of job applicants with criminal records

RALEIGH (November 10, 2015) — North Carolinians are calling on Gov. McCrory and members of the NC General Assembly to “Ban the Box” and establish fair hiring procedures that prevent the unnecessary exclusion of applicants with criminal records from employment with local and state agencies.

Nearly 1,100 individuals signed a petition at the NC State Fair late last month in support of “restoring opportunities for gainful employment and productive citizenship” to North Carolinians who have criminal records.

“Those with criminal records are routinely required to check a box on local and state employment application acknowledging their conviction,” reads the petition, a collaboration between the NC Justice Center and The Peace Booth. “A past record often prevents the applicant from being considered for a job prior to an interview. Those with criminal records should not continue to be punished after they have paid their debts to society.”

The petition asks Gov. McCrory to follow the example of our southern neighbors in Georgia and “Ban the Box.” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order earlier this year that banned the state from requiring individuals seeking work as state employees to disclose their criminal histories in the early application stage. Instead of being automatically disqualified on account of their criminal background, applicants have the opportunity to discuss their past offenses and rehabilitation efforts.

“In recent years, legislators from across the political spectrum have come to recognize that not only does automatically excluding North Carolinians with criminal records from employment opportunities contribute to a revolving-door criminal justice system, it also drains state resources, undermines community safety, and fails those who have paid their debts to society,” said Daniel Bowes, an attorney with the NC Justice Center. “Establishing a Ban the Box policy in our state isn’t about giving away jobs to dangerous or unqualified applicants. Instead, it’s meant to ensure that the suitability of each applicant is being individually assessed and the most qualified individual is selected.”

One Comment


  1. Avery Jarhman

    November 10, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/518/except-for-that-one-thing?act=1#play

    After listening to a ThisAmericanLife podcast interview with Cornealious Michael “Mike” Anderson III and his wife, learning how he transformed himself from a angry, disturbed young person into an average, peaceful, working family man, I believe most people who crossed the line and acquire criminal records should be given the opportunity to prove they’ve matured and earnestly want to be responsible.

    However, banning the box is only a band-aid that does not address the more serious social issue for learning why some people become depressed, angry, frustrated, mildly or significantly emotionally disturbed people who often violently or non-violently harm their/our peaceful neighbors?

    In my opinion the serious social issue glaring us all in the face is America’s expanding and shameful **National Epidemic of Childhood Abuse and Neglect, Poverty**, that for more than two generations has deprived untold numbers of American kids from experiencing and enjoying a fairly happy American kid childhood with *Safe Streets* to travel and play on.

    **Child Abuse and Neglect** that is primarily responsible for populating our prisons with depressed, angry, frustrated, undisciplined, unpredictable, sometimes suicidal teens and adults full of resentment for irresponsibly being introduced to a life of hardships and struggles.

    **Early Childhood Abuse and Neglect** that often leads depressed, sometimes suicidal **(NY Times May 18, 2015 – Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers)** children to develop into depressed, angry, frustrated, unpredictable, sometimes suicidal teens and adults lacking empathy and compassion for others, though needing to vent their pent up negative emotions, often causing emotional and physical harm to peaceful people…instead of venting their anger, resentment and pain on the immature single moms and/or dads who introduced them to a life of pain and struggle by irresponsibly building a family before acquiring the practical skills, *PATIENCE* and means to successfully raise and nurture a developing young child who matures into a fairly happy responsible teen and adult with mostly fond memories of their childhood.

    A thought.

    During the early to mid 80s young Brooklyn, NY rap performers were selling their CDs from car trunks, sharing rap performances with their fans that referred to females as less than human *itches and *hores unworthy of respect.

    Less than a decade earlier virtually all American music artists of African descent were writing beautiful, timeless music adoring, admiring, praising, wooing, lamenting, loving and respecting the maternal half of our population.

    Today many mega-popular rap performers continue characterizing our moms, sisters, grandmas, daughters, aunts and nieces as less than human creatures unworthy of respect. :sad:

    Black *(Children’s)* Lives Matter; Take Pride In Parenting; End Our National Epidemic of Child Abuse and Neglect; End Community Violence, Police Fear & Educator’s Frustrations

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