End discrimination against formerly incarcerated workers! Ban the Box Huntington WV!
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"Nationwide, over 100 cities and counties have adopted what is widely known as ‘ban the box’ so that employers consider the job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a criminal record.”
– National Employment Law Project
When we say we want to ban the box, we are saying that people shouldn’t have to share on a job application whether or not they have been convicted of a crime they committed in the past. “The Box” prevents working people – and those who want to do the right thing and contribute to society – from getting jobs for reasons
that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job or whether they’re a good person.
If you’re wondering why this is a big deal, then please take a look at
- Those convicted of crimes often face long-term unemployment due to “the Box”: employers often discriminate against them. This prevents them from being able to take care of themselves and their families. This inability can lead to them becoming homeless because they can’t afford to put a roof over their heads or turning to crime again in order to provide for those they love.
- There are also many wrongful convictions: some researchers (including C. Ronald Huff of Ohio State University) have estimated as many as 10,000 to 20,000 every year. This means “the Box” prevents falsely convicted people from working, punishing them beyond the time they lost for crimes they didn’t commit.
- A recent Washington Post story reported that many working class people who are arrested face a terrible choice when they can’t afford outrageous bail amounts: when “brought to court for the first time, they [are] given a take-it-or-leave-it, for-today-only offer: Plead guilty and get probation or weeks to months in jail. If they refuse, they wait in jail for months, if not a year or more, before they got to trial, and risk additional years in prison if they were convicted. That’s a high price to pay for a chance to prove one’s innocence” (“The staggering number of wrongful convictions in America,” July 24, 2015).
- People of color are disproportionately affected by “the Box.” For example, racist policing and sentencing practices have led to Black people making up 28% of those held in West Virginia’s prisons, even though they are only 3% of the total prison population. Similarity, Latin@s make up only 1% of the state’s population but 6% of those imprisoned. The racist impact of “the Box” damages both individuals and communities of fellow workers.
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