Hundreds gathered on Boston Common this Saturday asking state lawmakers to expand job opportunities instead of prisons. One protester, Donnell Wright, according to The Boston Globe, has a real estate license, a commercial trucking license, as associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree. What the formerly incarcerated man doesn’t have is a job. After employers run a background check, he says, they’re no longer interested. Little to zero employment, housing, driving and other opportunities for men and women to begin stable lives is an issue facing not just returnees but the high crime and highly policed communities to which they typically return.
Massachusetts is one of eleven states, according to a National Employment Law Project (NELP) report out this month, with “ban the box” legislation on the books. These initiatives typically remove the conviction history question from the job application and delay background checks until later in the hiring process. But these reforms, Mass. advocates say, don’t go far enough.
More than 60 counties and cities have also adopted “ban the box” legislation. If you or someone you know has gotten a job because of “ban the box” policies, let us know.