Our Ban the Box campaign calls for removing the question and check box, “Have you been convicted by a court?” from applications for employment, housing, public benefits, insurance, loans and other services. These questions mean lifelong discrimination and exclusion because of a past arrest or conviction record.
All of Us or None is recognized nationwide as the core of a Ban the Box movement that is sweeping the country. As of May 2014, over 50 cities or counties, and 10 states have removed questions about conviction history from their public employment applications. All of Us or None and LSPC co-sponsored AB 218 in 2013, California legislation that implemented Ban the Box policies for public employment statewide. (See the AB 218 Implementation Guide, created by AOUON and National Employment Law Project.)
This year we helped pass the San Francisco Fair Chance Act – legislation that has expanded local access to housing and jobs for people with conviction records. This model legislation sets standards for how and when employers and housing providers may consider conviction records. Nationally, we are promoting the Fair Chance Pledge: banning the box at nonprofits and foundations.
Several cities and counties who have adopted Ban the Box also require that their vendors adopt the same hiring practices as for public employment, which further increases job opportunities. (Check out a map of the campaign’s success here.) The short video Enough is Enough also describes the campaign.
Campaigns to Ban the Box around the U.S. have been started by a wide variety of people: formerly-incarcerated people, neighborhood legal services agencies, City Council members, Mayors, other elected officials. For any of our campaigns to win, it’s crucial that we build broad coalitions that recognize the grassroots voice of people who have been directly affected by this discrimination.
Recently a campaign to Ban the Box launched in Los Angeles, called the Fair Chance Initiative, as covered in this article in the LA Times, “L.A. leaders ask employers not to reject people with criminal records.”
We are currently working on a campaign calling for President Obama to issue an executive order to Ban the Box for federal contractors. Please consider downloading and printing our petition and gather signatures in your area.
To start a campaign in your area, check out our Ban the Box Campaign Toolkit. Contact Jesse Stout, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (or 415-625-7049) for a hard copy of our Ban the Box Organizers’ Toolkit and more information.