This week Governor Nixon signed an Executive Order that would remove questions about a candidate’s criminal history from initial job applications for State government. Known as an effort to “ban the box”, this order refers to the check box on job applications that asks about criminal history. State agencies can still do criminal background checks later in the process.
Similar “ban the box” laws are in place in 21 other states and numerous municipalities. Several corporations, such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Starbucks, have also adopted “ban the box” policies.
Criminal justice advocates believe such measures will lower recidivism among ex-offenders and promote public safety. According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, the unemployment rate for Missourians on parole in 2015 was 44% compared to a statewide unemployment of 4.2% in February.
This legislative session Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) and Rep. Michael Butler (D-St. Louis) introduced bills to “ban the box”. The MCC supports these measures because they promote a second chance for ex-offenders re-integrating back into society.