People who are convicted of a crime often face a number of complications and changes in their lives post-conviction. In many cases, people will have to spend time in jail which can jeopardize community ties, jobs, marriages and familial relationships beyond the point of repair. Some people will have to pay restitution or fines in light of a conviction. That coupled with the fact that many people lose their jobs could lead to financial despair.
Further, getting a job after being convicted of a crime can be enormously challenging which can only make post-conviction life more difficult. Right from the application phase, people with a criminal conviction can have a check against them because of one question: Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
However, recently it was reported that President Obama will be announcing an executive order to ban this question on applications for federal jobs. Many companies in Indiana have already taken this question off their applications, but the announcement by Obama will impact federal employers.
What this means is that people with a criminal conviction will have the opportunity to establish and prove their capabilities as a job candidate first without having the stigma of a criminal conviction hanging over their application.
This can be especially helpful for people who have been convicted of a crime that has little or no impact on their skills or ability to perform the functions of a job. For instance, a person who was convicted of felony drunk driving during college may face unnecessary obstacles when it comes applying for jobs in industries like retail, sales, design or education.
However, employers can eventually ask a candidate about a criminal history later on and find out information on convictions during a background check. But by that point, the employer can determine if the details of a criminal conviction outweigh the benefits or capabilities of a person’s qualifications.
It can be challenging enough to stick with probation terms, rebuild relationships and adjust to life post-incarceration; without a job, this can be even more overwhelming. Banning the box can be an effective way to help people move forward and reintegrate into society.
Source: The Huffington Post, “President Obama To Announce Executive Order To ‘Ban The Box‘,” Marina Fang, Nov. 2, 2015