This week the Missouri Senate debated a bill that would give a second chance for employment to ex-offenders. The bill requires public employers (state and local governments) to defer a criminal background check until after the job interview has been conducted or until a conditional offer of employment has been made. Public employers may still conduct a background check and refuse to hire a person. Known as “ban the box”, SB 44 is sponsored by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis).
An estimated one in four adults have an arrest or conviction record that can be a barrier to future employment. By eliminating the question on the job applications about prior offenses, ex-offenders would be able to display their qualifications before a background check is done.
Fifteen states and over 60 cities and counties have adopted fair hiring policies similar to SB 44. Numerous private companies like Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and Koch Industries have also adopted a ban the box approach.
The MCC supports SB 44 because we believe it will lower recidivism and help ex-offenders to become law-abiding citizens.
SB 44 was laid over without a formal vote on the bill. It still could be brought up again for debate this session.
Posted: May 1, 2015