Wisconsin Ban the Box!
What is “Ban the Box”?
“Ban the Box” refers to the nationwide movement to end employment discrimination against the formerly incarcerated by removing the question on job applications requiring applicants to disclose their criminal background.
What’s the Problem?
Many employment applications include a check box that asks the derogatory and humiliating question, “Have you ever been arrested and/or convicted of a felony?” Many people have not been arrested in 5, 10 or 20 years, but cannot obtain employment because they are automatically screened out by checking the box. Everyone deserves a second chance to live a normal life and contribute back to society.
Have you been impacted by hiring practices that discriminate against the formerly incarcerated? Experiences like yours help illustrate why we need to Ban the Box! Share your story with 9to5 and we’ll be in touch to follow up with you.
Did you know?
- National recidivism rates, or the return to prison rates, are close to 70 %. In states that have ‘banned the box’, the recidivism rate drops to 40% – nearly half the national average.
- For 8 of the last 10 years, each year over 3,000 people return from prison to Milwaukee County, plus the individuals that returned the following years. These individuals can become employed and pay taxes, instead of taxes being paid on them.
- The box on employment applications impacts families, nearly 65% of women incarcerated have minor children and 1 in 14 black children have at least one parent incarcerated.
- The lowest paid full-time county worker earns $18,444/year. The cost to tax payers to incarcerate an inmate is $33,215.00 a year. When formerly incarcerated workers can become employed and pay taxes, they contribute back to society. Why should tax payers pay taxes on a person who is able to become employed?
What Can We Do?
Removing the arrest/conviction box on employment applications will allow the formerly incarcerated person to be selected for an interview based on their skills, qualifications and education, rather than for past mistakes and bad choices.
Steady employment provides much more than a paycheck. For the formerly incarcerated, it bolsters the work experience and teaches much-needed skills, as well as keeping them from returning to some of the illegal activities that got many of them incarcerated in the first place. In building up their work history, and earning the respect and recommendations of their employers, formerly incarcerated folks stand the best chance of successfully reintegrating into society, moving up the career ladder, and living a satisfying and crime-free life.
Financial Impact: This policy change will expand access to city jobs to the 3,000 people returning from prison to Milwaukee. The lowest paid full-time county worker earns $18,444. It costs less to employ the reformed citizens than to house them in institutions.