“The action I’m taking today will ensure that state government continues to be a model for increasing economic opportunity, improving public safety, and strengthening communities,” Gov. Nixon said. “This is about fairness. Giving folks a fair chance to redeem their lives, support their families and make a contribution to their communities is a value we share as Missourians and as Americans.”
Approximately 96 percent of the individuals who are sentenced to prison will eventually return to their communities. But formerly incarcerated individuals frequently encounter challenges in obtaining employment, which make it more difficult for them to successfully assimilate back into society. According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, the unemployment rate for Missourians on parole in 2015 was 44 percent.
When formerly incarcerated individuals must include their criminal history on an initial employment application, many of these individuals may be automatically eliminated from consideration. “Ban the box” initiatives seek to combat this problem by delaying inquiries into an individual’s criminal history until later in the hiring process.
“These men and women have paid their debt to society and are attempting to successfully return to their communities as productive, law-abiding citizens,” Gov. Nixon said. “By giving these Missourians a fair chance to get a job and support their families, ‘ban the box’ policies can help to break the cycle of crime and incarceration.”
“Ban the box” policies have been implemented in 21 states, and a number of corporations have adopted the policy including Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Koch Industries, Starbucks and Facebook.