Panelists at MACo’s Summer Conference share how criminal histories continue to be a part of job applications, even when ‘ban-the-box’ laws are in place.
At MACo’s Summer Conference, panelists including Hadi Sedigh of the National Association of Counties, Caryn York of the Job Opportunities Task Force, and Jacia Smith of Baltimore City’s Department of Human Resources joined a conversation moderated by Maryland Delegate Nick Mosby about ban-the-box legislation and its effect on county hiring practices.
Ban-the-box legislation has been passed in several Maryland jurisdictions, including Baltimore City, and advocates continue to push for statewide changes to criminal records reporting requirements for employment and other applications, including college applications, housing applications, and social services forms.
The panelists and Delegate Mosby described the positive potential for ban-the-box policies, including improved reentry, reduced recidivism, and a stronger tax base.
As far as the effect of the laws on county human resources departments, however, implementation has not presented as many issues as may have been anticipated. Strict rules for consideration may still be applied to certain positions, including public safety posts with additional security requirements, and for other positions, criminal histories may still be considered and be a deciding factor – they are just not revealed at the outset of the application process.
“It’s more like move the box than ban the box,” Caryn York, Executive Director, Job Opportunities Task Force