By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror
The Arizona Senate passed “ban the box” legislation that would make it easier for people convicted of felonies to get jobs by limiting what prospective employers can ask about their criminal histories.
Sen. Martin Quezada’s Senate Bill 1437 would prohibit private sector employers from asking job applicants about their criminal histories until they’ve given the applicant a job interview or, if there is no interview, given a conditional offer of employment. Even in those situations, employers would only be able to ask about criminal records in the preceding seven years, and the conviction would have to be directly related to the job in question.
Such policies are often referred to with the phrase “ban the box” because they eliminate the boxes on many employment applications that people must check if they’ve been convicted of a felony.
“This bill is aligned with many similar measures being passed on the federal and state levels. Criminal justice reform is a net positive for society as a whole. Our prisons become increasingly more expensive to maintain and grow more overcrowded every year. Reconsideration of how we punish people, particularly those who have committed non-violent offenses and those whose crimes occurred many years ago, is therefore paramount. Providing those who have paid their debt to society with a fair chance at obtaining gainful employment will certainly decrease the likelihood of recidivism while helping to change former criminals into productive members of society. That’s a win-win.”