Thanks to Scott over at Grits for coverage on the "ban the box" that they are proposing in Travis County Texas. "Banning the Box" takes the checkbox for criminal backgrounds off of county job applications. Read the story here...
The idea has been termed "banning the box," meaning simply removing the query from the initial questionnaire, saving a criminal background check until later in the hiring process so they're not as readily excluded from the hiring pool. Reported the Austin Statesman ("County may ease barriers to hiring ex-convicts," April 12):
Sometime in the coming weeks, Travis County commissioners will likely remove the question on county job applications that asks, "have you ever been convicted of any crime?"
That question would be asked later in the interview process. The commissioners say they hope the change, intended as much for its symbolism as its practical effect, will remove a red flag that can cause managers to immediately toss an application in the trash.
"We're weeding them out before they have a chance to show their skills," said County Judge Sam Biscoe, chairman of the Commissioners Court and chief proponent of a new county policy. "It's my guess we're losing a lot of good applicants."
Other local governments, such as Williamson County, say such a change wouldn't have a meaningful impact there and have no plans to follow suit.
Many experts have concluded that finding work is key to ex-convicts becoming productive members of society. But those experts say many have difficulty because of the stigma of a criminal record.
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