MEDIA RELEASE: North Carolinians call on Gov. McCrory, legislators to “Ban the Box” for public employment

More than 1,000 North Carolinians visiting the NC State Fair signed a petition in support of fair hiring procedures that would prevent exclusion of job applicants with criminal records

RALEIGH (November 10, 2015) — North Carolinians are calling on Gov. McCrory and members of the NC General Assembly to “Ban the Box” and establish fair hiring procedures that prevent the unnecessary exclusion of applicants with criminal records from employment with local and state agencies.

Nearly 1,100 individuals signed a petition at the NC State Fair late last month in support of “restoring opportunities for gainful employment and productive citizenship” to North Carolinians who have criminal records.

“Those with criminal records are routinely required to check a box on local and state employment application acknowledging their conviction,” reads the petition, a collaboration between the NC Justice Center and The Peace Booth. “A past record often prevents the applicant from being considered for a job prior to an interview. Those with criminal records should not continue to be punished after they have paid their debts to society.”

The petition asks Gov. McCrory to follow the example of our southern neighbors in Georgia and “Ban the Box.” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order earlier this year that banned the state from requiring individuals seeking work as state employees to disclose their criminal histories in the early application stage. Instead of being automatically disqualified on account of their criminal background, applicants have the opportunity to discuss their past offenses and rehabilitation efforts.

“In recent years, legislators from across the political spectrum have come to recognize that not only does automatically excluding North Carolinians with criminal records from employment opportunities contribute to a revolving-door criminal justice system, it also drains state resources, undermines community safety, and fails those who have paid their debts to society,” said Daniel Bowes, an attorney with the NC Justice Center. “Establishing a Ban the Box policy in our state isn’t about giving away jobs to dangerous or unqualified applicants. Instead, it’s meant to ensure that the suitability of each applicant is being individually assessed and the most qualified individual is selected.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Bowes, danielb@ncjustice.org, 919.861.2061; Jeff Shaw, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).