The federal government is jumping onto the “ban the box” band wagon that has taken the U.S. by storm. A group of bipartisan lawmakers revealed a new bill that claims to give former incarcerated people a fair chance of gaining employment with the federal government. The Fair Chance Act will follow current ban the box legislation that prohibits employers (in this case the federal government) from inquiring about previous criminal history on an employment application and instead wait until a conditional job offer has been extended.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced the bill in the Senate and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif) introduced the bill in the House. The bill according to Sen. Booker will “Empower people with records to become productive members of society instead of repeat offenders.” The bill that had pressure from advocates for ex-offenders will mirror what eighteen states and over 100 cities have implemented by adopting the ban the box legislation. Sen. Cummings believes “This bill will help us reduce recidivism, break the cycles of crime we see all too often and make our communities safer in the process.”
Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) are co-sponsoring the Senate bill and Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) are co-sponsoring the legislation in the House.