The title of this post is the title of this new paper recently posted to SSRN and authored by Mariah L. Daly, a recent graduate The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. This paper is part of a student paper series supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. Most of the papers in this series have come from the marijuana seminar I teach, and I blog about these papers in posts like this over at my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform blog. But this paper emerged from my sentencing class last fall, and the topic remains so timely and important. Here is this paper’s abstract:
Between 70 and 100 million adults have a criminal record of some kind that are revealed by criminal background checks. One of the most severe and pervasive collateral consequences is difficulty securing gainful employment. Ban-the-Box reform is crucial as a starting point for fair chance hiring, especially in the age of rapidly developing technology and the largely unfettered ability to get information. The availability of criminal records has functioned less as a “public safety” precaution and more like a scarlet letter branded on the chest of millions Americans. Demanding unnecessary disclose of criminal records before a conditional job offer hinders reintegration, increases recidivism, jeopardizes public safety, sabotages the economy, affronts human dignity, and causes devastating harm to society overall.
This paper argues that Ban-the-Box laws should be expanded and made uniform across jurisdictions to help prevent against unjust discrimination based on criminal record. The vast differences in the levels of protection provided across Ban-the-Box jurisdictions and their shortcomings are analyzed and model Ban-the-Box legislation that incorporates concepts from the most protective existing laws is proposed.