Study Links Ban the Box Laws to Public Safety

Ban the Box Blogs

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A ‘first of its kind’ study published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice has linked the Ban the Box legislation that removes the criminal history question from job applications to improved public safety. More information about the study ‘The Effect of Hawaii’s Ban the Box Law on Repeat Offending’ is available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12103-014-9251-9.

Florida International University (FIU) Criminal Justice researchers Stewart J. D’Alessio, Lisa Stolzenberg, and Jamie Flexon examined State Court Processing Statistics for Hawaii, the first state to Ban the Box. After the Ban the Box law passed in 1998, criminal defendants prosecuted in Honolulu County for a felony were 57 percent less likely to have a prior criminal conviction.

The FIU researchers says this statistic shows Ban the Box laws can reduce repeat offending by helping ex-offenders obtain employment and avoid being automatically disqualified because of a criminal record. D’Alessio also said research should be expanded to determine the true effectiveness of Ban the Box laws since data availability was restricted to a single county.

“A simple question where you just check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ actually wields tremendous influence in a person’s chance of getting a job,” D’Alessio stated in a news report about the Ban the Box study. “Policymakers all across the country should seriously consider Ban the Box legislation to improve the job prospects of ex-offenders. As our research shows, doing so can help reduce crime.”

According to research by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the Ban the Box movement is spreading rapidly across the United States. So far nearly 70 U.S. cities and counties as well as 13 states have passed some form of Ban the Box legislation. More research from NELP about Ban the Box is available at http://www.nelp.org/page/content/banthebox/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – has recommended employers consider utilizing a Ban the Box approach in hiring. ESR is offering employers nationwide a Ban the Box Information Page that contains links to the latest news about the Ban the Box movement available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Ban-the-Box/.