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ban-the-box legislation

Legislation requiring that employment application questions relating to most types of criminal convictions be removed from applications and/or not asked of an applicant until either a second interview or a conditional job offer is made. (Ban-the-box laws are also known as "fair chance" laws).

There are two rationales underlying ban-the-box legislation. First, roughly 70 million people have some form of criminal record. Potentially excluding (or even impairing the chances of) so many from participating in the workforce would have serious negative economic and personal consequences for a vast number of individuals. Second, it is almost universally acknowledged that a criminal conviction makes it considerably more difficult to secure employment. This, in turn, increases the probability that a person recently released from prison will be unable to find a job, raising the likelihood of that individual returning to criminal activities and ultimately to prison.

As of October 1, 2016, 24 states (plus Washington, D.C.), along with more than 150 cities and counties, have adopted ban-the-box legislation.

Links for IRMI Online Subscribers Only: PLI XXI; EPLiC Winter 2016


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