How To Get A Job With Obama – There is no greater embarrassment for job seekers than having a criminal record. But it is difficult for an ex-prisoner to stay in prison if he does not have a job.
Many states and cities think they have found a way to break this bad trend: preventing employers from asking about criminal records in job applications, a policy known as “excepting the box.” Today the federal government proposed legislation to “check the box” for federal agencies – they will be required to wait to check the background of job applicants until after they have extended an offer.
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It is something that activists have been asking President Obama to do for a long time, and he officially announced that the administration would do it last fall. Banning the box is a real step towards not only bringing back incarceration in the future, but also ensuring past victims don’t slip into radicalism. But it’s also a reminder that fixing discrimination isn’t easy – and the people most affected by the problem may not be the ones most helped by the solution.
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“Ban the box” (or, as some advocates call it, “right-wing development”) does not mean a single law or policy. There are 19 states and over 100 cities with some form of box bans – but they take different forms.
Some exclusionary programs, such as the federal one proposed by the federal government, apply only to governments (or in some cases, to governments and contractors); some apply to every employee in the state. Some out-of-the-box policies delay the time in the process that an employer can ask about criminal history; others prevent the employer from finding out anything about the applicant’s criminal history until the company is ready to hire him or her.
Many federal agencies already have hiring policies that delay asking about applicants’ criminal history, and the Office of Personnel Management — the federal government’s “HR department” — already recommends that agencies “wait until the end of hiring process to start the job. suitability determination and consideration of the applicant’s criminal record,” according to the National Employment Law Center (one of the leading advocacy groups supporting out-of-the-box policies). In November, Obama issued an executive order that fixes this — turning OPM’s “best practice” recommendations into stronger regulations whenever possible. And now OPM has issued a formal order.
The rule is limited. It doesn’t cover federal contractors — who are more likely to be hired for the lower wages that many ex-felons deserve.
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But in one important aspect, the surprise is wide. Instead of delaying any question about criminal records until later in the application process (as President Obama’s first executive order mandated in November), the proposed process directs the federal government to decide whether it wants to hire another – and she made a “conditional offer” to them – before their criminal history was checked.
It’s a straightforward attempt to fix what has become one of the biggest obstacles to the successful retrial of ex-offenders.
It is very difficult for people to reintegrate into society after being released from prison. And this is especially true if they cannot find jobs that will allow them to support themselves and their families without resorting to terrorism.
But people with criminal records do much, much worse in the job market than their peers. A third of all unemployed men between the ages of 25 and 54 have a criminal record; in fact, there is some speculation that mass incarceration is the main reason labor force participation has declined among men entering the workforce.
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Even if ex-convicts can get jobs straight out of prison, it is very difficult for them to stay employed in the long term. One study published by the Russell Sage Foundation shows that, while the employment rate among people released from prison has increased significantly compared to before they were incarcerated, “This increase in employment has been pass. It disappears completely after one. and half a year and actually becomes negative after three years.”
People who are more likely to end up in prison may have some disadvantages in the labor market, too: They are more likely to be low-income and less educated to begin with. But there is some evidence that negative criminal records hurt job seekers more than anything else. A study by Harvard sociologist Bruce Western tracked people whose incomes were in the “bottom quintile” (bottom 20 percent of the income distribution) over a 20-year period. 20 years, two-thirds of men who
They have criminal records out of the minority. One in four people with a criminal record have: half the number of their friends without a record.
Civil rights laws do not protect people with criminal records from being discriminated against because of their history. And in the last couple of years, criminal background checks of job applicants have become almost commonplace – mostly because of how cheap and easy it is to check someone’s criminal record in the age of the internet.
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In one study, which asked employers whether they would consider hiring applicants with different credit scores, employers were more likely to hire an applicant with
Get involved in the criminal process more than someone who has a scandal. Simply being caught hurts the applicant more than being unemployed for a long time, having a GED instead of a high school diploma, or even not having experience with a full-time job for a long time.
But the increase in criminal background checks coincides with the release of tens of thousands of ex-convicts each year – mostly men and mostly black. The combination of racism and prejudice against criminals makes this group of people vulnerable to discrimination by employers.
Proponents of banning the box often cite statistics that if job applicants must disclose criminal records while applying for a job, having a record reduces the chance of being called back for an interview by 50 percent. This statistic comes from an experiment conducted by sociologist Devah Pager in Milwaukee, where she sent white and black students to deliver job applications to 350 companies. She found that white applicants with criminal records they were only half as likely to be called to question as peers without the data. Among black applicants, the disparity is even worse: Applicants with criminal records make up only a third of those who can be called.
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When applicants make personal contact with prospective employers, applicants with criminal records have the opportunity to be called again: its impact,” Pager said. But simply submitting a job application for an entry-level job generally doesn’t give you a chance to make a good impression. “Although these examinees were professional college students with excellent self-presentational styles, the study of entry-level applicants provided an opportunity to observe these characteristics. Rather, the barriers to employment were Minority and criminal record is an aggravating factor, it further denigrates this group.”
And once ex-offenders know they’re vulnerable to discrimination, it’s hard to be motivated to look for work at all. “There is a real chilling effect of having criminal records,” Pager said. “Ex-offenders prefer to remove themselves on purpose because they think, when they check the box,” they’re checking themselves out of the job. “There’s a good reason why they think that.” But it can also prevent them from looking for a job even if the employer does not discriminate against them.
The principle behind the ban on the box is simple, as President Obama himself explained when he visited a federal prison in July: “If they have a chance to meet you at least,” he told the crowd. prisoners, “you can. talk to them about your life, what you have done, maybe they will give you a chance.”
There is no systematic review of state and out-of-the-box policies. But few studies in cities or states have found that ban-the-box policies have at least some effect on helping ex-offenders get hired — and they certainly don’t backfire on employers.
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The best evidence that banning the box helps ex-offenders to work comes from Durham, North Carolina, which banned the box from hiring in 2011, and from hiring county employees in 2012. 2014, more than 15 percent of the city’s workforce. has a criminal record – seven times as many as when the policy was implemented in 2011. Furthermore, when the Durham County government was prevented from checking the criminal history until a recommendation was made to the applicant for a job, it was still interpreted this decision to another job offer 96 percent of the time.
There is little evidence that banning the box helps ex-offenders find jobs in the private sector. A search of Minnesota businesses after the state passed the box ban in 2014 found no evidence
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