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Illinois joins the 'ban the box' movement

Nov 06, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Background checks, particularly criminal and background ones, are a common practice among employers who are seeking to verify applicants' levels of responsibility and trustworthiness. However, these checks have faced opposition for various reasons, including cost and discrimination against certain individuals.

This latter point is the basis for a decision in Illinois to ban the use of criminal background checks, according to WSIL-TV, to allegedly give ex-convicts a better chance of obtaining employment. Governor Pat Quinn's announcement in October to ban this practice is part of a larger nationwide movement, which is known as "ban the box."

According to supporters of the change, former convicts barely make it to the interview because of their background. Chris Gravett, who spent time in a Kentucky prison for buying an Xbox with a stolen debit card, explained to the news source the unfairness of the checks.

"I went through substance abuse programs," Gravett told WSIL-TV. "I went through anger management programs, just everything they had to offer to better myself."

Retail chain Target has joined this movement, announcing in October that it would do away with the use of criminal background questions in its job application process, The Huffington Post reported.