Nixon ‘bans the box’ for most government job applications

Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered state agencies to stop asking job applicants about their criminal history on their applications.

Nixon issued an executive order telling all departments, agencies, and boards and commissions he has authority over to wait until later in the job application process to ask an applicant about his or her criminal background. The order does not apply to positions for which a criminal history would make an applicant specifically ineligible, such as a bank examiner.

A statement from Nixon’s office explaining the order states, “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.”

It said the unemployment rate for Missourians on parole last year was 44-percent.

Proponents of “ban the box” contend that criminal history application questions work against ex-offenders finding work. Both progressive and conservative politicians have embraced the policy to help to break the cycle of crime and incarceration.

Read more: Missourinet, St. Louis Public Radio

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