Philadelphia Bans the Boxby Mindy BogueIntroduced by Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller and supported by the Ban the Box Reent...
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Philadelphia Bans the Box

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Article about Philadelphia's "ban the box" legislation that fines companies for asking job applicants before their second interview if they have a criminal background. The Pennsylvania Prison Society was part of the coalition that advocated for this change.

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Philadelphia Bans the Box

  1. 1. Philadelphia Bans the Boxby Mindy BogueIntroduced by Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller and supported by the Ban the Box Reentry Coalition, BillNo. 110111A was signed by Mayor Nutter at a City Hall ceremony on April 18, 2011. This legislationprevents public and private employers in Philadelphia from asking job applicants about their criminalhistories on job applications, where a check-off box is often used. Employers must delay inquiring into anapplicant’s conviction history until the second interview.Prison Society Policy Director Ann Schwartzman says, “The Prison Society is proud to be part of thecoalition that pushed for this legislation in Philadelphia. It provides an opportunity for men and women toshow an employer that they can do the job, but it is not a guarantee. Ban the Box is a step towardemployment, but much more needs to be done to increase the job market for qualified men and women,regardless of their past histories.”The coalition included Community Legal Services, Frontline Dads, JEVS Human Services, XOffenders forCommunity Empowerment, and other local organizations.Philadelphia is home to thousands of people with a criminal history, and employers using job applicationsto garner such information are likely to reject the application without further consideration.Studies have shown that, in addition to providing financial support, employment improves self-esteem,increases attachment to the community, and encourages a sense of belonging to a group. It’s thereforelikely that policies helping ex-offenders find work will decrease their chances of recidivism.Ban the Box legislation is a nationwide movement and has been passed by six states (California,Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Mexico). Over 25 cities have also “banned thebox,” including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston and Chicago.For more information about the national Ban the Box campaign, go to www.allofusornone.org.

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