According to NBC News, up to 75 percent of ex-convicts cannot find jobs within their first year of being released from prison. Despite doing their time for their crime, many ex-convicts are finding that companies are unwilling to offer the kind of employment that could lead to a better life and a life away from prison. President Obama has recently announced a movement that could help ex-convicts get jobs and pick up the pieces of their life, and it all starts with altering the job application.
"Ban The Box" Has Become A Battle Cry
The box that President Obama refers to when he says that it is time to "Ban the Box" is the box that ex-convicts are asked to check on job applications that indicates that they have a criminal record. It is no surprise to anyone that many employers will weed out the applications of people who have been honest and checked the box, and employers will also fire any employee who did not check the box on the application when they did have a criminal record. In the eyes of prison advocates, it is a no-win situation for ex-convicts.
Putting His Money Where His Mouth Is
According to the New York Times, President Obama has already ordered federal agencies to not require anyone to check the criminal record box on work applications for several facilities. This step would allow ex-convicts to be considered for positions based on their qualifications, and not immediately disqualified because of their history.
Not Removing The History Completely
While the President has asked that no one is required to reveal their criminal past on an application, the hiring process will still involve a review of any criminal records that applicants may have. The difference is that the criminal pasts of applicants will not be explored until after the candidate has been entered into the hiring process and evaluated based on their qualifications. In this way, the president hopes to give more ex-convicts equal opportunities to get the jobs they need to help put their lives back together and avoid falling back into a life of crime.
For many years now, people who had served their time in prison had found it difficult to find work within the first few months after being released. Because they could not find honest work, many turned back to a life of crime just to try and make a living.
President Obama hopes that companies throughout the country adopt the "Ban the Box" mentality and give real opportunities to the former inmates who want to turn their lives around. The ability to find a good job and get their lives back on track within months of being released can be the difference between ex-convicts continuing a life of crime, or becoming productive members of society.
Do you think the "Ban the Box" initiative a good idea? Will it affect your hiring processes? If so, how?
George N Root III is a professional freelance writer who has expertise in topics such as Internet marketing, business, advertising, and personal finance.