Mar 15

Should Missouri “Ban The Box”?

by Mike Ferguson

How long should past crimes affect Missourians? Do employers have a right to know about a past criminal history before they decide to consider someone for a job?

Over a dozen states and three cities in Missouri have already changed the rules when it comes to hiring in an effort to help convicted felons who have completed their sentences get jobs.MWSnap062

State Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and former St. Louis Judge Lisl King Williams, now with the Fathers Support Center, offer two different perspectives on the effort to “ban the box”. That’s the proposal to make it illegal for employers to ask job applicants if they have felonies on their criminal record.

With some exceptions, the proposal filed in the State Senate would also bar employers from disqualifying applicants from a job based on a prior conviction. A Senate committee voted the bill down recently but supporters say they will continue to push the legislation.MWSnap063

The idea is not popular with business associations, who view the idea as government overreach into a business decision. Supporters of the concept say it’s good for the entire community and state. They believe “banning the box” will create more job opportunities for those with criminal records and that will result in fewer offenders returning to criminal activity.

What do you think? Tell us your opinion on the Missouri Viewpoints Facebook page (linked at the top of this page).

On the web:

Caleb Rowden: www.CalebRowden44.com

Fathers Support Center: www.FathersSupportCenter.org

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