Is A "Ban The Box" Law Passed Last Year Helping Ex-Offenders Find Work?
It’s been a year since Baltimore passed a law known as “ban the box,” after a fierce fight. The law tells many private employers their job application form cannot ask job-seekers if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. No “convicted” box to be checked. City and state agencies already had removed the box, and in the past year, many private employers have followed suit.
Those who lobbied for the measure contended it would give ex-offenders a better shot at re-entering the workforce, by letting them make an impression on a potential employer before disclosing their criminal histories. Opponents argued it would waste an employer’s time, and create false hope for job seekers whose records could ultimately exclude them from particular positions. One year later, how has it turned out?
With us to talk about it is Gerald Grimes, Project Manager of The Re-entry Center at Baltimore city’s One-Stop Career Center in Mondawmin Mall, part of the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. This year it helped over 300 ex-offenders find jobs. Also with us is Novlette Haughton, who recently returned to the workforce after 14 years in prison for second degree murder. She is about to celebrate her first 90 days as a manager at Café Lorraine in Northwest Baltimore.