UPDATE: We have delivered the first batch of letters to Washington DC but will still be collecting them through December 2015. So keep those letters coming.
The Texas Inmate Families Association is participating in a national letter campaign to urge President Obama to sign an executive order to ensure that both federal agencies and federal contractors eliminate unnecessary barriers to the employment of people with arrest and conviction histories by banning the box on federal job applications.
We wish to ask for your support on a Ban the Box – Fair Chance initiative that would delay asking a question about criminal history on an initial application for employment. Today, nearly one in three adults in the United States has an arrest or conviction history that appears on a background check, and this creates serious barriers to employment for millions of people.
Ban the Box policies allow people struggling to obtain employment and help families make ends meet. We urge you to sign on to this effort to ensure background check policies, when required, are fairly used after an employer has had a chance to see the applicant as a human being worthy of consideration for an interview or employment offer based on his or her qualifications, and not immediately dismissed because of a mistake made in the past.
Please show your support by printing the letters below, distributing them to your friends and family and sending the signed letters to TIFA at PO Box 300220, Austin, Texas 78703-004.
By families coming together and supporting each other we can make changes in the criminal justice system.
“Empowering people with records to become productive members of society instead of repeat offenders is not only fiscally sound, it’s the morally responsible thing to do,” said Sen. Booker. “There are millions of Americans with records who are quickly passed over by employers without considering their skills or qualifications because of their history. Sadly, this approach only increases the likelihood of recidivism at great cost to taxpayers and communities in New Jersey and across the country. The Fair Chance Act seeks to dismantle this unfair barrier in federal hiring to ensure these Americans are given a second chance and a fairer shot at making a better life for themselves.”
The Fair Chance Act would:
Ban the federal government (including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches) from requesting criminal history information from applicants until they reach the conditional offer stage;
Prohibit federal contractors from requesting criminal history information from candidates for positions within the scope of federal contracts until the conditional offer stage;
Include important exceptions for positions related to law enforcement and national security duties, positions requiring access to classified information, and positions for which access to criminal history information is required by law; and
Require the Department of Labor, U.S. Census Bureau, and Bureau of Justice Statistics to issue a report on the employment statistics of formerly incarcerated individuals.