Ban the Box Advocates Call for Executive Order

Ban the BoxActivists hope increased national attention on criminal justice issues will help encourage President Obama to issue a “ban the box” order.

Criminal justice reform advocates are meeting with top White House advisers on Wednesday to help people who’ve done their time, Politico reports. They’re urging President Barack Obama to issue an executive order banning the government and federal contractors from asking most prospective employees questions about criminal records. The demand is commonly known as “ban the box,” which refers to the section of job applications where employers inquire about arrests and convictions.

Some 70 million Americans have criminal backgrounds that make it harder for them to find work,according to the National Employment Law Project, which supports “ban the box” measures. People of color, who make up 60 percent of the prison population, are disproportionately impacted by criminal background inquiries, advocates point out. They also say that background checks run counter to the justice system’s goal of rehabilitation.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have passed “ban the box” laws. Last month, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, who is Republican, signed an executive order to that effect.

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