AP Language- Period 6
30 October 2017
“Banning the Box” for the Greater Good
The “ban the box” movement is one that has acquired much controversy. Nationwide, over 150 cities have adopted the “ban the box” initiative, where employers and companies consider a job applicant’s qualifications first, without the stigma that stems from a criminal record. This movement provides potential candidates with criminal records a fairer chance at getting a job. “Banning the box” is not only beneficial for ex-felons, but the rest of the United States population as well. The economy profits from it and the likelihood of an ex-felon re-offending decreases tremendously. When companies do not “ban the box”, it leads to billions of dollars in lost revenue as well as an increase in recidivism. Despite this, I disagree with implementing a government mandate that makes “banning the box” a requirement, because many companies, such as child daycares, for example, have justifiable reasons for not wanting to hire ex-felons. While a mandate goes too far, businesses should ban the box because it has tremendous socio-economic benefits for themselves, ex-felons, and the rest of the United States.
The “ban the box” movement decreases rates of recidivism and gives ex-convicts a second chance at reintegrating into society. By “banning the box”, unemployment rates of felons decrease considerably and subsequently, the rates of re-offending criminals decrease as well. The St. Louis Federal Probation Office instituted a program designed to help give ex-felons another chance at life outside of prison by helping them find jobs. In the New York Times, journalist Mark Obbie who specializes in criminal justice writes, “Under the program, unemployment among the office’s ex-offenders fell early on by more than half… Recidivism was 15 percent in a 2012 study, compared with 38 percent nationally in the federal system” (Obbie). The program instituted, the Second Chance Act, a federal law that finances re-entry programs, has been a success for the people of St. Louis, including, ex-felons and companies. By “banning the box”, programs like the Second Chance Act would have an even higher success rate in finding employment for criminals. Doing this helps not only companies and ex-felons, but cities and towns as well. The decrease in recidivism makes cities and towns safer for everyone. Many major companies have put the “ban the box” policy into use, including Target, Facebook, and Home Depot. A notable example of the success of “ban the box” has come from Koch Industries, a large oil company. Mark Holden, the COO of Koch Industries has shared his opinion on the installment of “ban the box” and his feelings towards it by writing a piece for The Wall Street Journal. Holden himself writes, “Hundreds of thousands of people with criminal records try to rejoin society every year… No one should be judged forever based on what they did on their worst day—everyone deserve...