Ban the Box On College Applications


Ban the Box On College Applications

This petition made change with 819 supporters!
Petition to
Maryland General Assembly and

Why this petition matters

“Remove the criminal convictions question(s) from the initial application process.”

Demand that universities/colleges in Maryland provide an application that does not ask applicants any question(s) pertaining to past guilt or conviction of a misdemeanor, felony, or other prior offense in the initial application process. The question would still be asked later in the process. 

Statistics Support College After Incarceration: The national recidivism rate (1) drops from 76% to 5.6% if an individual obtains a bachelor’s degree and below 1% with a Masters degree (2,3). Most crimes on campus are committed by people with no prior convictions (4).   

Thus, as a public safety strategy, universities and colleges should be doing everything they can to promote access to higher education – not create more barriers.

Support this Petition: Job Opportunities Task Force in partnership with From Prison Cells to Phd and other organizations insist that you support “Ban the Box on College Applications.” Sign the petition today. Please state your university in the comment box (if affiliated).

People make mistakes, and people deserve second chances. Unfortunately, people who have made poor decisions in the past and are trying to better themselves by pursuing higher education face a major barrier: a box that they must check disclosing their criminal history on college applications.

By requiring applicants to disclose their criminal history, universities impose a barrier to education. This process reduces the applicant to the mere moment when they incurred a criminal record rather than seeing the full person with all of their interests, skills, and experiences.

Asking about criminal history on college applications is not a practice grounded in empirical evidence and does not promote public safety. Studies show that college education during or after prison helps individuals reintegrate into society and reduces the chance they will end up back in prison.  

Maryland Fair Access to Education Act of 2017: Fast Facts. Senate Bill 543 & House Bill 694 seeks to remove the arrest/conviction question from the initial college applications. The question would still be asked later. By moving it, the applicant can be first assessed on merit alone. Here is an analysis of this bill


About the Organizer: My name is Dr. Stanley Andrisse. I am a formerly incarcerated person with 3 felony convictions and I am now an endocrinologist scientist at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Growing up in Ferguson-Florissant, Missouri, I got involved with making poor decisions at a very young age. By my early 20’s, those poor decisions had exacerbated and I found myself sitting in front of a judge facing 20 years to life for drug distribution and trafficking charges. The judge sentenced me to 10 years in a maximum-security prison. 

My dad’s health plummeted while I was in prison. They amputated his lower limbs up to his torso. Before I could reconcile our relationship, he fell into a coma and passed due to complications associated with type 2 diabetes. He remains my inspiration. Upon release, after several rejections (likely because of the box), I was accepted into a Ph.D. program, completed my Ph.D./M.B.A. simultaneously, and started at Johns Hopkins Medicine doing diabetes research.

Education has been the game changer for me. It helps change the life trajectory of men and women with criminal records. Education has given me the tools and the titles to balance out those strikes that I placed against me. More important than the letters behind my name, education has broadened my life perspective and has given me hope.

Share your Story via video or text which will be sent with the signatures to policymakers! Attend the Rally to Ban the Box (BtB) on College Applications! Visit our website for details. Join the Facebook BtB Petition page for updates. Be sure to #BanTheBoxMD to your post when you share with friends.  


This petition made change with 819 supporters!

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