Senate Minority Leader urges state to ‘Ban the Box’

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –State and local community leaders are working to help those with felonies transition back into society. The key to that transition, is gaining employment.

By removing the box on job applications, which requires them to readily identify their criminal history on state job applications, these individuals will be more likely to have a bright future once they have served their debt to society.

“By asking that question, the state is forcing these individuals to serve a second sentence of joblessness,” said Senate Minority Leader Quinton T. Ross Jr. “I’m sponsoring this bill so that we can make a real impact on prison reform in our state. By banning the box we can reduce our prison overcrowding and reduce our recidivism rates by offering these people a future.”

Like other states, this bill allows applicants to wait until a job has been offered before they must disclose their criminal history to the employer. Therefore, giving the applicant an opportunity to explain his or her individual situation, to a perspective employer.

The Alabama Non-Violent Offenders Organization says this hugely important, because inevitably a background check will occur. So getting to the next interview step where there’s a chance for open communication is vital.

“During the interview they can just explain how they've turned their life around,” said ANVOO Vice President Travis Muller.  “They need to share that they are a good honest person now, and they just need to work and take care of their family.”

The mission of Alabama Non-Violent Offenders Organization is to network with agencies and programs to help non-violent offenders with restoration of their voting rights, pardons, and/or expungement of their criminal records.

The organization’s goal is to help close the past life to create a brighter future. In the past 6 years, they’ve assisted more than 900 Alabamians with transitioning back into society.

To date, a total of 19 states have “Banned the Box” for state job applications.

ANVOO is hoping Alabama makes 20.


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