ACLU plans to push 'ban the box' law in 2020

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho released a report Thursday detailing measures it plans to push for to reduce Idaho’s incarceration rate, including a bill to limit when potential employers can ask about an applicant’s criminal record.

The ACLU plans to unveil the Blueprint for Smart Justice Idaho on Jan. 7, the day after the start of the 2020 legislative session, and give copies to lawmakers, state agency directors, prison reform advocates and other interested groups. The Fair Chance Employment Act, which the ACLU plans to introduce during the 2020 session, would require employers to wait to ask about a candidate’s criminal background or do a criminal background check until an applicant is given a personal interview or a conditional offer of employment.

ACLU of Idaho Policy Director Kathy Griesmyer said the ability to find a job after getting out of jail or prison is directly linked to recidivism. The report notes that 71 percent of people admitted to state prison in 2017 were sent for parole or probation violations, and many are likely to violate again without a job. Griesmyer said an estimated 50 percent of applicants with criminal records are disqualified without an interview or a chance to explain the circumstances. FULL ARTICLE