The proposal, described as “banning the box,” would delay an investigation into a potential employee’s criminal history until later in the process instead of the job application form. “While most agencies already have taken this step, this action will better ensure that applicants from all segments of society, including those with prior criminal histories, receive a fair opportunity to compete for Federal employment,” noted a fact sheet released by the White House on November 2, 2015.
Other reforms include up to $8 million in educational grants to help former inmates rejoin society with employment and job training as well as $8.7 million in government grants to address homelessness for criminals re-entering society. Obama’s emphasis on assisting criminals who want to re-enter society are part of his continuing agenda items from his “My Brother’s Keeper Task Force” an initiative he wants to continue long after he leaves office in 2017.Andrew Dye, 25, is homeless and a former drug addict. He admits he has been convicted of multiple, non-violent felonies like grand theft. Of the 150 jobs he’s applied for, he has never been offered an interview.”They say they are going to call you, but they don’t,” he said. Records show Dye has been free of arrests in Pinellas County for two years. He is weeks away from completing a GED and is the father to a 5-year-old. “I have got to support myself before I support him,” Dye said.
Yet he, and job application coaches at the St. Petersburg Salvation Army, believe it’s egregious for employers to insist applicants check a box that asks if they’re a felon.
How can someone reform themselves, they ask, without even getting a job interview, much less a job? “Look at how they were, and how they are now,” said Paul Fuller, the area director for the Salvation Army. My hope is that with the federal government taking action, this becomes a basic principle across our society.”