News & Resources

Bill reduces reentry barriers into the workforce for non-convicted criminals

Apr 05, 2011 Matt Roesly

The ban the box bill - aptly named for the check box that asks job applicants if they have been convicted of a crime - was passed and signed by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Friday, reports. According to the news source, under the law employers will not be allowed to ask job candidates about arrests that did not end in convictions, or inquire into criminal history before the first interview. Supporters of the bill suggested that the check box is used for blanket discrimination against ex-offenders. Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller told the media outlet that she believes many ex-offenders could find work if given an interview and a chance to make an impression. "I think this bill and what it's trying to do will change lives." James Kenney, Philadelphia councilman, told the news source. "You cannot be found again and you cannot come alive again unless you have the opportunity to work." In 1998, Hawaii became the first state to adopt the ban the box legislation. In 2010, Massachusetts prohibited both public and private employers from requesting criminal record information on initial job applications, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.