On the “Ban the Box” movement

The “Ban the Box” movement is pushing public and private employers to refrain from asking about criminal records until later in the hiring process. It’s an increasingly popular policy within the criminal justice reform movement, and I recently reported on it for The New Republic. 

“Ban the Box” is getting bipartisan support:

[S]upport for Ban the Box spans the ideological spectrum. Georgia’s Republican governor is responsible for his state’s ban, while companies like Koch Industries and Walmart have voluntarily removed criminal history questions from their job applications.

The numbers indicate that the policy works. But it’s about more than jobs:

While these studies are good at showing concrete effects of these policies, the Ban the Box movement should be seen as part of a larger effort to humanize those with prior convictions. “It’s a deeply stigmatized population,” said Michelle Rodriguez, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project (NELP). “The criminal record has been used to basically dehumanize a population and to treat them as less than deserving of human dignity and respect.”


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