Criminal History on a 'Need to Know' Basis: Employment Policies that Eliminate the Criminal History Box on Employment Applications

Justice Policy Journal 5(2): 4-22 (2008)

22 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2018

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

Employment is a critical component of successful reentry by ex-offenders to society. Major cities such as Boston, San Francisco and Chicago implemented an innovative and cost effective initiative to promote the employment of ex-offenders by removing from public employment applications all questions relating to an applicant’s criminal history. Prisoner rights advocates had argued that the presence of the criminal history question on job applications deterred ex-offenders from applying to jobs for which they were otherwise qualified and also resulted in employment discrimination based on ex-offender status. Initial data indicate that the implementation and effectiveness of the policy vary considerably between cities. Significant limitations of the policies should be addressed to ensure the intended outcome of increased ex-offender employment.

Keywords: ban the box, reentry, criminal record, criminal history, employment

Suggested Citation

Henry, Jessica, Criminal History on a 'Need to Know' Basis: Employment Policies that Eliminate the Criminal History Box on Employment Applications (2008). Justice Policy Journal 5(2): 4-22 (2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3149215

Jessica Henry (Contact Author)

Montclair State University ( email )

Department of Justice Studies
1 Normal Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
United States

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