‘Ban the Box’ bill signed into law in Philadelphia

NAACP leaders joined Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and city leaders on April 18th as Mayor Nutter signed into law a bill that will prohibit city employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their criminal history until after the first employment review. This effort to “ban the box” about criminal history will strengthen employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated job seekers.

Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President & CEO; Robert Rooks, NAACP Director of Criminal Justice Programs; Jerry Mondesire, President of the Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP; Donna Reed Miller, Councilwoman and sponsor of legislation; Everett Gillison, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and others joined Mayor Nutter at the event.

As part of the NAACP’s ongoing effort to encourage corporations and state governments to “ban the box”, next week President Jealous will send a letter to all 50 governors and to municipalities around the country urging them to follow Philadelphia’s lead. In 2009, at the NAACP’s request, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger removed the request about criminal histories from California’s employment applications.

“The City of Brotherly Love believes in second chances,” stated Jealous. “Formerly incarcerated people in Philadelphia will now be given a second chance at success. This bill will help the city build strong, stable communities. People hired as a result of this policy will be able to contribute to society as workers and as taxpayers. They will be able to reunite with children sent to foster care, and remain by their side. The city that took in Michael Vick has once again shown it believes in the power of redemption.”

“Ex-offenders face many hurdles when re-integrating into the workplace including lack of skills and limited education. One of their greatest challenges is overcoming their criminal records. This legislation will make it easier for ex-offenders to be judged by their abilities as opposed to their past,” stated Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Making available employment options for those with criminal histories contributes to the overall safety and quality of life in Philadelphia. Everyone deserves a second chance.”