Hawaii Amends Ban the Box Law to Strengthen Protections for Ex-Offenders

Ban the Box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On September 15, 2020, Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige signed Senate Bill 2193 (SB 2193) into law to amend the state’s original “Ban the Box” law passed in 1998 – the first of its kind in the United States – to strengthen protections for ex-offenders by reducing the ten-year “look back” period for conviction records.

SB 2193 states that the “legislature finds that the ten-year ‘look back’ period for conviction records should be shortened to reduce unnecessary employment discrimination against individuals with old and relatively minor conviction records, in furtherance of economic self-sufficiency, and to reduce crime and recidivism rates.”

The purpose of the amended Hawaii Ban the Box Act “is to limit the convictions that may be used in employment decisions, from all convictions in the most recent ten years, to felony convictions that occurred in the most recent seven years and misdemeanor convictions that occurred in the most recent five years.”

SB 2193 “is not intended to amend or affect existing exceptions that explicitly allow the use of criminal history-related records for certain occupations, such as department of education employees, and specific circumstances, such as sex offender registration.” The complete text of SB 2193 is available here.

“Ban the Box” refers to the box on job applications that applicants are asked to check if they have a criminal record. As of September 2020, 36 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted Ban the Box laws to reduce employment barriers for ex-offenders and have them judged on their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Ban the Box laws and second chance programs that give job applicants with a prior criminal record a chance to find work are spreading rapidly in the U.S., according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2020 that was compiled by leading global background check provider Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers a white paper on “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce,” an “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide for States, Counties & Cities,” and a Ban the Box Resource Page with an interactive map with Ban the Box laws. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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