The Ban the Box Campaign challenges the stereotypes of people with conviction histories by asking employers to choose their best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions.
Since 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a conviction history, the impact of this discrimination is widespread and affects other aspects of life in addition to employment opportunity.
Frequently Asked Questions (click below)
- Remove any question regarding conviction history from your organization’s job application, unless a background check is required by statute.
- Consider that the job may not require a background check.
- Limit background checks to positions requiring unsupervised contact with finances or vulnerable people (youth, elderly, disabled).
- Postpone any background check until a finalist candidate has been selected.
- If a background check is required for the position by statute, supply the job candidate with a copy of the background report. Allow that person to correct any inaccuracies.
- Consider only convictions directly related to the responsibilities of the position, as required by Federal and state law. Do an individualized assessment of whether or not circumstances connected to a prior conviction will be repeated.
- Allow the finalist to explain the circumstances of the conviction, and to offer evidence of his or her rehabilitation.
- Create opportunities for community service at your organization by offering people positions on your Board of Directors and providing meaningful volunteer work. Community service helps people heal after the experience of jail or prison. Please welcome people coming home from incarceration into your organization and back into the community.
- Remove any questions about past convictions from the application for potentially serving on your Board of Directors, and from your volunteer information form, unless required by law.
- Seek out community service partnerships with halfway houses and treatment centers.
- Identify programs in your area that provide employment placement services and training for formerly incarcerated people, and collaborate with them when you search for new employees.
- Check area universities and community colleges to find out if they have any internship programs serving students with conviction histories and collaborate with them.
- Most organizations want the best qualified people working on their staff. Eliminating a conviction history check unless required by law or because of job responsibilities, broadens the pool of highly skilled candidates for any job.
- Most past convictions are not directly related to jobs sought, and people deserve the chance to be judged based on their qualifications, not their past convictions. Discrimination stops many people with conviction records from securing jobs; once they find a job, most are exceptionally hard workers, determined to keep their employment.
- Our social justice non-profits can be an example of fair hiring practices for other private employers, thus increasing general employment opportunity for people with conviction records.
- Building on past successes at increasing diversity among staff and Boards, non-profit organizations and foundations can now address the impact of the disproportionate incarceration of people of color. Including people with past convictions or histories of incarceration on Boards and among volunteers brings diversity of viewpoints into any non-profit organization.
- This practice may actually increase the accountability of a non-profit to the people it serves, and may improve the quality of services delivered.