August 17, 2015
By Wade Henderson
Washington, DC – We applaud Secretary Clinton’s endorsement of a common sense solution to a pernicious problem in American society—our nation’s refusal to give the formerly incarcerated a second chance at a decent life. With Clinton’s announcement, the three leading Democratic presidential candidates and President Obama himself have all endorsed banning the box.
But an endorsement does nothing to help the 70 million Americans with an arrest or conviction record who must struggle with a lifetime of barriers in the way of their ability to work, find affordable housing, or pursue a college degree. 18 states, 100 cities and counties, and major employers like Starbucks, Walmart, Koch Industries, and Target have already put these policies in place. It’s time for the federal government to catch up to the nation and give millions of Americans a second chance and a fair chance at employment and opportunity.
President Obama must listen to the calls from formerly incarcerated people, from civil rights groups, and from businesses who all want the White House to walk the talk by issuing an executive order banning the box for federal jobs and contractors and implementing hiring practices that give these applicants a fair chance at employment.
***This guest article on removing the check box from job applications used to pre-screen applicants with prior convictions, has been written by Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.