Cory Booker and Elijah Cummings Want to “Ban the Box”
Cities and states throughout the U.S. have implemented fair chance policies -- known as “ban the box” -- to remove a significant barrier to employment for people with criminal records. But there is no law mandating this change at the federal level. Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)introduced bipartisan legislation to change this. The Fair Chance Act would prohibit the federal government and federal contractors from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant prior to a conditional offer of employment. "These policies are commonsense criminal justice reforms that have shown potential for reducing recidivism and breaking cycles of crime in many states," Cummings said. "This bill would give individuals who are reentering society from prison a fair chance at truly achieving the American dream and becoming contributing members of our communities." The National Employment Law Project estimates that 70 million people in the -- or nearly 1 in 3 U.S. adults -- have a prior arrest or conviction record. “We have a criminal justice system where the collateral consequences for Americans with a criminal conviction are like getting a life sentence—affecting their ability to vote, to get housing and critically, to get back to work," Booker said. "This bipartisan bill will break down the barriers that prevent people who have paid their debt to society from getting a job, so that we can better advance our goals of justice, rehabilitation and redemption for all.” Booker and Cummings were joined by Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) in introducing the bill. More here.