Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ban The Box

Ban The Box is a campaign started by a grass roots civil rights organization called "All Of Us Or None". The purpose of this organization is to fight for the rights of both former and currently incarcerated people. The purpose of the Ban The Box campaign is to eliminate any questions regarding criminal history on both employment, and rental applications, background checks would not be done until after and only after a qualified applicant is selected. This would give someone who was formerly in custody a better chance at having a second chance.
The so called correctional system is in fact not designed to correct the behavior of anyone who has been incarcerated. Initially the intention may have been to rehabilitate offenders. But at this point it has become a system in which human beings are warehoused, and then released into a world where they are rarely given a chance to redeem themselves. They are forced to wear their mistake like a scarlet letter each and every time their background is investigated. This contributes to a high recidivism rate. Of course their are those who put no effort into being productive adults. But their are others who genuinely want a chance to prove that they have not been defined by their mistakes.
The prison industrial complex is a billion dollar industry in which inmates are it's hottest commodity. With the privatization of prisons on the rise, and states being told that they must guarantee that it's correctional facilities are kept at 90% capacity, it comes as no surprise that this campaign is facing some opposition. Banning the box could actually increase employment, there by lowering the rate of recidivism, and decreasing the ranks of American's who are in custody. A lower crime rate is bad for business when it is depended upon it for profit.



  1. I don't think that I could ever be a part of that organization. Additionally, what does "All of Us or None" actually mean? "All"--who? "Us"--who? Why do criminals call the crimes that they purposefully commit "mistakes" when a police officer, minister, a social worker or their mother is questioning them? Is it for some degree of sympathy that they call their crime a "mistake"? If the person to whom they are speaking doesn't accept the flimsy explanation, then the retort is: "none of us are perfect--we all make MISTAKES"! Well, I really don't want a known burglar, terrorist, rapist or murderer living next to me. The same situation on the job. My former employer hired a person, found out months later AFTER receiving the full background check, that this individual had lied on his application. They fired him, but by then he had knowledge of sensitive information. Is that the scenario that this organization is pushing for--something like having a convicted embezzler hired as the CFO of a large (or small) corporation and then after all the money has been diverted to an offshore account, they do a background check? I guess next this organization will want to do away with visas, passports, vaccinations, drivers' licenses and credit checks.

  2. I don't think that anyone would advocate giving a Charles Manson, or a Betnie Madoff a second chance. Violent felons, and thieves whose crimes have ruined the lives of countless people really do not deserve it. I agree with you, there are those who call their crimes a mistake to excuse their bad behavior. But the fact of the matter is there are some 1st offenders convicted of non violent crimes who have been incarcerated . This group does not intend to give career criminals 3rd and 4th chances.

  3. I won't belabor this, but I think that you made my point. "This group does not intend to give career criminals 3rd and 4th chances". Well, somebody must have given some of them a 2nd chance for it to have progressed to "3rd and 4th chances." Also, if the "box" is banned for some, it should be banned for everyone (including "violent felons")--therein lies the rub. Just expressing my opinion. Take care.

  4. I appreciate your comment and I must admit that I am not 100% sold on the idea. Way too may suppositions. Just thought it was an interesting idea. Especially given the fact that I know people who have life long criminal record's for nonsense.