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Laws Passed To Help Ex-Cons Get Jobs Might Be Doing The Opposite


Lawmakers in more than 25 states have passed legislation prohibiting employers from asking for an applicant’s criminal history, claiming the ban would help ex-convicts get jobs, but new research is showing that it may do the opposite.

Known as “ban the box” laws, referring to the checkbox on applications denoting criminal history, the legislation theoretically lets ex-convicts fly under the radar of employers, allowing them to be judged based on competence rather than their criminal history. Despite the goal, however, research from economists Jennifer Doleac of the University of Virginia and Ben Hansen at the University of Oregon shows that the laws may only be making employers more discriminatory.

“If employers don’t want to hire people with criminal records, and you tell them they aren’t allowed to know this information anymore, they aren’t simply going to throw up their hands and just pick people at random. Instead, they are going to try and guess who has a criminal record and avoid wasting their time with those people,” Doleac told Quartz Media on Monday. FULL ARTICLE