To: The Pennsylvania State House, The Pennsylvania State Senate, and Governor Tom Wolf

"Ban the Box!" Give people with criminal records a fair chance

Please support legislation that will provide a fair chance for everyone seeking a job. I urge you to support "Ban the box" legislation makes the job application process fairer by moving inquiries into a candidate’s criminal background to after a candidate has been interviewed and offered a conditional offer of employment.

Why is this important?

“Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

Many employers ask that question before they will even consider employing someone. That screens out more than 20% of all Americans who have a criminal record.

“Ban the Box” refers to the policy of removing the check-box that asks about criminal history from job applications.

When people make mistakes, they should make amends. But once they have, they should be treated no differently than anyone else. But too often individuals with convictions in their past are discriminated against when it comes to hiring. This is particularly problematic because young men of color are far more likely to be convicted of a crime.

If employers must ask about convictions, they can ask later in the hiring process. As the call to “ban the box” spreads across the country, it has become a powerful movement for fair hiring.

According to the National Employment Law Project, “Roughly 70 million people in the United States have some sort of criminal record, and nearly 700,000 people return to our communities from incarceration each year. Supporting the employment opportunities of people with records creates safe communities, reduces childhood poverty, and strengthens families.”

13 states and more than 90 cities and counties have adopted fair chance policies.

It’s time for Pennsylvania to join them. Ask Gov. Wolf and your state legislators to “Ban the Box” in Pennsylvania.