President Obama announced Monday (November 2nd) an executive order which bans federal employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until later on in the application process.
The order known as “ban the box” which describes the actual checkbox on applications that inquires if applicant have ever been convicted of a crime, is intended to help former convicts successfully re-enter into society.
While many employers who argue against the move say the checkbox is a commonsense way to vet who they’re potentially hiring, criminal justice reform activists have long charged this process to be just one of the many hurdles former inmates looking for a fresh start must overcome.
Obama unveiled the new initiative at a treatment center in New Jersey, and spoke with several federal prisoners about the move in July when he became the first sitting president to visit a prison. Obama will also roll out other plans to aid former convicts including education and housing grants, as well as expanding technology training.
“If the disclosure of a criminal record happens later in a job application process, you’re more likely to be hired,” the president said. “If they have a chance to at least meet you, you’re able to talk to them about your life, what you’ve done, maybe they give you a chance.”