Ban the Box

Ban the Box

Ban the Box refers to a requirement to remove the “box” from employment applications that ask an applicant whether he/she has ever been convicted of a crime. One of the goals of Ban the Box is to have people support changes in policies that discriminate against the formerly incarcerated. This is an important goal, because if these former felons cannot obtain a job, their chances of recidivism dramatically increase (The Ban the Box Capaign, 2003, p.1). Another goal of Ban the Box is to receive the support of all employers to hire previously incarcerated individuals, as well as support the elimination of any restrictions on the involvement that may reject the formerly incarcerated population. The system Wisconsin currently has seems to be failing this particular population.
Currently, the Ban the Box movement has been implemented in 13 states and 66 cities nationwide (Maurer, 2014, p.1). Those who have adopted this movement are moving forward with more than just modifying or removing criminal record questions. They are actually revising the criminal record screening program. As a result of this, any questions on an applicant’s criminal record are to be examined after his/her interview. By this, the applicants receive a fair chance of displaying their skills, as well as their ability relating to the applied occupation.
Wisconsin has been affected by this movement in various ways. For example, Milwaukee and Dane County removed the criminal history box from employment and job applications. On August 27th, 2013 the state of Wisconsin tried to address the Ban the Box issue by creating the Assembly Bill 342 (Wisconsin State Legislature, 2013, p.1). This Bill’s purpose was to make sure employers were not prohibiting the consideration of a conviction record of and applicant (Wisconsin State Legislature, 2013, p.1). Unfortunately, the Assembly Bill 342 did not pass and individuals seeking employment with an arrest or conviction on their record continue to face barriers.
Although Wisconsin does not currently have a Ban­the­Box policy at the state level, it does regulate the questions an employer can ask on a job application. The Wisconsin Fair Employment Law prohibits discrimination on employment based on an arrest or conviction record. Although these are nice steps towards equality, Wisconsin still has a long way to go.
As social workers, our interest on this issue is great. Everyone deserves the equal opportunity for a job interview and a second chance. By banning the box, it will not only benefit those convicted of a crime, but will also benefit the economy. Nearly one third of the adult population in America has a criminal record. With so many potential workers being denied an interview based on their past actions it is draining our economy. If convicted applicants are unable to obtain a job, they will be continue to be forced to rely on social welfare programs, which increases the stress on the limited resources available.
In summary, the state of Wisconsin does not support Ban the Box, which makes it harder for felons to be looked at for a job. If the state were to pass a policy where felons no longer had to check a box indicating that they are felons, there would be more opportunities for them to move on to a better life. Another benefit of Ban the Box is that there would be more potential employees to help fill jobs. It also would be more beneficial for the job market, as well as for felons to no longer have a requirement to check the box. It is our goal to raise awareness of how beneficial it would be to pass a policy stating that felons no longer have to check the box. Not only is it our goal to raise awareness, but it is also our goal to eventually get this policy passed, so felons have the opportunity they deserve to a better life.

References

“Ban­the­Box” Laws Impact Employer Use of Criminal Records Information. (2016). In Boardman & Clark. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from http://www.boardmanclark.com/publications/ban­the­box­laws­impact­employer­use­of­c riminal­records­information/
Duane, G. (2015). Banning “the Box” Will Benefit Both the Justice System and the Economy (2015). In Brennan Center For Justice. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/banning­box­will­benefit­both­justice­system­and­ec
onomy
Ensuring People with Convictions Have a Fair Chance to Work. (n.d). Retrieved April 19, 2016, from https://www.shrm.or/hrdisciplines/safetysecurity/articles/pages/ban-the-box movement-viral.aspx
Maurer, R. (2014). Ban­the­Box Movement Goes Viral. (2014). In Society For Human Resource Management. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from https://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/safetysecurity/articles/pages/ban­the­box­movement­ viral.aspx
The Ban the Box Campaign. (2015). In Ban the Box Campaign. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from http://bantheboxcampaign.org/?p=23#.VwV1N8d2dFI
Wisconsin’s Fair Chance Law. (2016). In Verify Protect. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from http://www.verifyprotect.com/ban­the­box/wisconsin/
Wisconsin State Legislature. (2013). In Wisconsin Legislation. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/proposals/ab342

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How Accepting Federal Medicaid Funding Will Impact Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin is continuing to be negatively impacted by its refusal to accept Federal funding for Medicaid Expansion.  Governor Scott Walker opted instead to implement the Section 1115 Waiver (Buettgens, Holahan, & Recht, 2015).  Although this waiver allows single adults eligibility if they are up to 100 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL), the Medicaid expansion would have allowed eligibility for single adults up to 133 percent of the FPL.  This leaves single adults living above 100 percent of the FPL, but below 133 percent, having to pay out-of-pocket costs to the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

Who is Being Hurt the Most

In an interview with MSNBC, Governor Walker stated that he wanted to have less people on Medicaid, and “…to find a way to get them into the workforce” (MSNBC, 2014).  However, most already are in the workforce.  The population impacted the most by the refusal to accept Medicaid funding is the “working poor”: non-disabled adults who are working the equivalent of full-time positions, but without the ability to access benefits from their employer.  This population falls into a gap: those living above 100 percent, but less than 133 percent of the FPL.  While the federal government subsidizes premiums for individuals between 100% and 400% of the FPL, the working poor are paying more out of pocket than if they had been approved for Medicaid through the expansion (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2015).

Uncompensated Health Care

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA), the uncompensated health care costs for the state of Wisconsin are projected to have increased 2.7 percent in 2015, bringing the total cost to $1,386,670,707.  This is a result of the patients being unable to pay for services, or the hospital being unable to collect payment for services rendered (2015a).  Contributing to that are the 46% of the Wisconsin residents who had previously been eligible for the state Medicaid assistance, but do not have coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (2015b).  The Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Program is partially funded by the state budget, and will be providing the state hospitals with $72 million over the next two years to help compensate for the rising costs associated with uncompensated care (2015b).

Economic Impacts Beyond Healthcare

According to Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-WI), Wisconsin taxpayers will have lost $1.07 billion in general purpose revenue (GPR) by the end of 2021 by continuing to refuse the federal funding for Medicaid expansion (2015).  In addition to the loss of revenue, the state has seen significant cuts to its public schools, from primary schools to universities.  Wisconsin has recently faced a $300 million cut to its UW education system (Bosman, 2015).  The budget funding which had previously been dedicated to education has now been allotted to cover the increased budget that the state needs to spend on its Medicaid program.

What Should Be Done

In May 2015, a bill was proposed which would amend the eligibility limit from 100 percent of the FPL to 133 percent.  By accepting the amendments proposed by Senate Bill 174, Wisconsin would be able to provide Medicaid coverage to single adults below the age of 65, who had fallen into the coverage gap (Wisconsin State Legislature, 2015).  Expanding the Medicaid program would provide coverage for an additional 120,000 residents, benefiting the state’s working poor population.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states that these federal funds would account for 100 percent of the costs for the first three years, and would cover at least 90 percent of the Medicaid funding indefinitely (2015).

If Wisconsin accepts the $345 million in federal money to fund the Medicaid program, the state’s budget would have the ability to allocate its own state dollars on other programs.  The state’s most recent budget proposal has called for $300 million in cuts to the education system that could have been reduced or even eliminated by accepting the federal Medicaid dollars (Bosman, 2015).  The state would benefit from seizing the opportunity to accept the federal funds and could help remedy the budget disparities that are currently impacting Wisconsin.  By not taking the federal funds, the state is putting an avoidable burden on the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

 

 

References

Bosman, J. (2015, February 16). 2016 ambitions seen in Walker’s push for for university cuts in   Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker’s higher education budget ignites backlash. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/us/politics/scott-walker-university-wisconsin.html?   _r=0

Buettgens, M., Holahan, J., & Recht, H. (2015). Medicaid expansion, health coverage, and spending: An update for the 21 states that have not expanded eligibility. Retrieved from http://kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/medicaid-expansion-health-coverage-and-spending-an- update-for-the-21-states-that-have-not-expanded-eligibility/

Erpenbach, J. (2015, December 17). Walker policy to cost WI taxpayers $1.07 billion in next six years. Retrieved from http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/erpenbach/PressReleases/Pages/ Walker-Policy-to-Cost-WI-Taxpayers-1.07-Billion-in-Next-Six-Years.aspx

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2015), The Wisconsin health care landscape. Retrieved from http://kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/the-wisconsin-health-care-landscape/

MSNBC. (2014, November 14). Walker: Unlike DC, Wisconsin gets things done [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/walker–unlike-dc–wisconsin-      gets-things-done-358208067815

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2015). 5 years later: How the Affordable Care Act is working for Wisconsin. Retrieved from  http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts-andfeatures/state-by-state/how-aca-is-working-for-wisconsin/index.html

Wisconsin Hospital Association. (2015a). Uncompensated health care report – Wisconsin hospitals, fiscal year 2014. Retrieved from  http://www.whainfocenter.com/uploads             /PDFs/Publications/Uncompensated/Uncompensated_Web_2014.pdf

Wisconsin Hospital Association. (2015b). Walker signs two-year budget into law, vetoes 104 provisions: Permanent Medicaid DSH program receives final approval from Gov.        Walker. Retrieved from http://www.wha.org/Data/Sites/1/pubarchive/valued_voice/             WHA-Newsletter-7-17-2015.htm#1

Wisconsin State Legislature. (2015, May 21). Senate bill 174. Retrieved from http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/sb174

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/sb174

The Need For Social Work Safety

As a future social worker, one must be weary of the issues facing the profession.  One of the most crucial concerns facing the social work profession today is safety (Kelly, 2010).  The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) pointed out, “Social workers have been the targets of verbal and physical assaults in agencies as well as during field visits with clients” (NASW, 2013, p. 5).  The NASW has provided these guidelines to promote the safety of social workers in all settings.  To be specific, the Wisconsin Chapter of NASW has supported the Social Work Safety Bill in light of the Castle Doctrine’s exclusion of social workers.  The Social Work Safety Bill should be passed in Wisconsin in order to include social workers in the Castle Doctrine, implement safety education, and advance social justice.

The Social Work Safety Bill stems from the Castle Doctrine, Act 94 (2011).  Passed in 2011, the Castle Doctrine allows for people to use deadly force if they believe there is an intruder on their property or breaking into their home.  Wisconsin Act 94 (2011) specifically protects public safety workers, which refers to professions like police officers or firefighters.  Social workers do not fall under this category. With numerous cases of violence against social workers, something needs to be put forth to protect the profession. Reeser and Wertkin (2001) explained that in today’s society, social workers are seen as agents of the state and not as part of the helping profession (p. 96).  Thus, the Social Work Safety Bill is proposed to protect human service workers who engage in regular home visits, like social workers, by exempting them from the Castle Doctrine defense.

Although the verbal and physical assaults from clients are difficult to prevent, providing social workers with safety education can help to protect them in crisis situations.  The Teri Zenner Bill, Senate Bill 25 (2009), passed in Kansas, requires specific safety training for all new social workers. After social worker Teri Zenner was brutally slayed by a client during a home visit, the state took action to promote safety education for all social workers.  Matt Zenner, husband of Teri, worked to pass this bill in Kansas to expand the safety skills of social workers (Carpenter, 2010).  Senate Bill 25 (2009) requires six hours of safety training for all social workers in the state of Kansas as part of the continuing education requirement, thus making Kansas a model state for safety education.  In the Social Worker Safety Bill, safety education would be included as part of continuing education and improve the overall safety skills of social workers (Act 94, 2011).

The Social Work Safety Bill would ultimately advance social justice, which would strengthen the profession as a whole.  According to the NASW Code of Ethics (2008), the ethical principle of social justice urges social workers to challenge social injustices and focus on change efforts.  The major social injustice facing the social work profession currently is that social workers are frequently at risk while on home visits and if the risk escalates, the Castle Doctrine protects the homeowner, not the social worker.  By passing the Social Work Safety Bill, social injustice will be fought by giving social workers a voice for their own protection.

The Social Work Safety Bill would have a number of benefits if passed.  If a homeowner chooses to use deadly force against a social worker while they are on the individual’s property, the individual will be covered under the Castle Doctrine.  It is important to be an advocate and fight social injustices facing social workers, “for a profession that is already struggling to recruit and retain social workers to serve the nearly 10 million clients [they] work with on a daily basis” (“The Urgency of Social Work Safety,” 2010).  It is crucial that individuals interested in the social work profession, and are willing to become a social worker, know they will be protected and have the correct training. Supporting the Social Work Safety Bill will raise awareness for an issue that the social work profession has been facing for a very long time.

References

2011 Wisconsin Act 94. Assembly Bill 69. (2011).

Carpenter, T. (2010, April 8). Law affects social workers, safety. Retrieved from http://cjonline.com/news/legislature/2010-04-08/law_affects_social_workers_safety

Kelly, J. J. (2010, October). The urgency of social worker safety. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/news/2010/10/social-worker-safety.asp

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the national association of social workers. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

National Association of Social Workers. (2013). Guidelines for social worker safety in the workplace. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Reeser, L. C., & Wertkin, R. A. (2001). Safety Training in Social Work Education: A National Survey. Journal Of Teaching In Social Work, 21(1/2), 95-113.

Teri Zenner Social Worker Safety Act, S. 1490, 111th Cong. (2009).

 

 

 

Social Work Safety

Kimberly Robertson

As a future social worker, one must be weary of the issues facing the profession.  One of the most crucial concerns facing the social work profession today is safety.  The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Guidelines for Social Worker Safety in the Workplace (2013) pointed out, “Social workers have been the targets of verbal and physical assaults in agencies as well as during field visits with clients” (p. 5).  The NASW has provided these guidelines to promote the safety of social workers in all settings.  To be specific, the Wisconsin Chapter of NASW has supported the Social Work Safety Bill in light of the Castle Doctrine’s exclusion of social workers.  The Social Work Safety Bill should be passed in Wisconsin in order to include social workers in the Castle Doctrine, implement safety education, and advance social justice.

The Social Work Safety Bill stems from the Castle Doctrine, Act 94 (2011).  Passed in 2011, the Castle Doctrine allows for people to use deadly force if they believe there is an intruder on their property or breaking into their home.  Wisconsin Act 94 (2011) specifically protects public safety workers, which refers to professions like police officers or firefighters.  Social workers do not fall under this category. With numerous cases of violence against social workers, something needs to be put forth to protect the profession.  Reeser and Wertkin (2001) explained that in today’s society, social workers are seen as agents of the state and not as part of the helping profession (p. 96).  Thus, the Social Work Safety Bill was proposed to protect human service workers who engage in regular home visits, like social workers, by exempting them from the Castle Doctrine defense.

Although the verbal and physical assaults from clients are difficult to prevent, providing social workers with safety education can help to protect them in crisis situations.  The Teri Zenner Bill in Kanasa, Senate Bill 25 (2009), requires specific safety training for all new social workers. After social worker Teri Zenner was brutally slayed by a client during a home visit, the state took action to promote safety education for all social workers.  Matt Zenner, husband of Teri, worked to pass this bill in Kansas to expand the safety skills of social workers (Carpenter, 2010).  Senate Bill 25 (2009) requires six hours of safety training for all social workers in the state of Kansas as part of the continuing education requirement, thus making Kansas a model state for safety education.  In the Social Worker Safety Bill, safety education would be included as part of continuing education and improve the overall safety skills of social workers.

The Social Work Safety Bill would ultimately advance social justice, which would strengthen the profession as a whole.  According to the NASW Code of Ethics (2008), the ethical principle of social justice urges social workers to challenge social injustices and focus on change efforts.  The major social injustice facing the social work profession currently is that social workers are frequently at risk while on home visits and if the risk escalates, the Castle Doctrine protects the homeowner, not the social worker.  Social workers need to become advocates for their own protection, which they can do by supporting the Bill. It is important to be an advocate and fight social injustices facing social workers, “for a profession that is already struggling to recruit and retain social workers to serve the nearly 10 million clients [they] work with on a daily basis” (“The Urgency of Social Work Safety,” 2010). By passing the Social Work Safety Bill, social injustice will be fought by giving social workers a voice for their own protection.

The Social Work Safety Bill would have a number of benefits for social workers and the community if passed.  If an individual chooses to use deadly force against a social worker while they are on the individual’s property, the individual would be covered under the Castle Doctrine.  With the Social Work Safety Bill, this would no longer be possible, as social workers would be exempt from the Castle Doctrine defense. Overall, supporting the Social Work Safety Bill would raise awareness for an issue that the social work profession has been facing for a very long time.

 

References

2011 Wisconsin Act 94. Assembly Bill 69. (2011).

Carpenter, T. (2010, April 8). Law affects social workers, safety. Retrieved from http://cjonline.com/news/legislature/2010-04-08/law_affects_social_workers_safety

Kelly, J. J. (2010, October). The urgency of social worker safety. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/news/2010/10/social-worker-safety.asp

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the national association of social workers. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

National Association of Social Workers. (2013). Guidelines for social worker safety in the workplace. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Reeser, L. C., & Wertkin, R. A. (2001). Safety Training in Social Work Education: A National Survey. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 21(1/2), 95-113.

Teri Zenner Social Worker Safety Act, S. 1490, 111th Cong. (2009).

Passing the Child Victims Act

By the age of 18, one in five children will fall victim to sexual abuse and 90 percent of sexual abuse cases go unreported as many of the victims are traumatized and scared as mentioned by Senator Julie Lassa (Lassa, 2013). Advocates urged the Wisconsin state legislators to reinstate and pass this bill (Assembly Bill 265/Senate Bill 225), which would allow child victims to report their abuser. If opposed, victims will continue to be unable to report after the age of 35. As social work students, the advocates understand the right to self-determination for all individuals.

Criminal & Civil Justice

One of the many benefits to passing the Child Victims Act (CVA) is the idea of victims receiving justice for the wrongful crimes that were committed against them. When conducting research on the CVA, a lot of questions came to mind regarding whether or not the possible justice that would be served would be considered criminal justice or civil justice. Throughout the research process, the collective group has come to recognize the justice would be considered both criminal and civil.  In the criminal justice system, the act of receiving justice begins after the crime is committed and reported to law officials.   While in the civil justice system, it looks at any possible third parties responsible for the crime and does not place blame on the potential perpetrator (Criminal, 2012).  If the CVA does not ever pass in the state of Wisconsin, the victims will never receive justice.

Statute of Limitations

The Child Victims Act is a bill that could change the lives of children all across Wisconsin.  In the states that have applied this policy, it has played a powerful role in allowing victims to get justice.  For instance, in the state of California, a similar law has passed to protect those impacted by sexual and physical abuse by increasing the statute of limitations (SOL). With this change in law, the SOL now favors the victims over the perpetrators.  Within California 1,000 new suits have been filed, which helped 300 perpetrators to be identified (Hamilton, 2016).  With a law like this here in Wisconsin, those impacted by abuse would be able to have time to come forward about the harm done to them.

Protecting Children

Another benefit of the CVA is that it protects women and children who have been abused. Wisconsin’s statute of limitations set a deadline when a child can go to court for being abused. This is a problem that needs to be addressed because it conflicts with the justice that the victim deserves. In most cases, family members and authority figures often commit child sexual abuse. Victims are traumatized by their experiences, which disrupts their everyday lives. As adults, it may take them longer to recover from this traumatic event and by getting the justice they deserve; it can be a good start for them to feel safe again (Hamilton, 2016).  However, with the statute of limitations, the victim may never feel safe knowing that the person that hurt them is still roaming around, freely.

Perpetrator Recidivism

The CVA would restore the purpose to improve the quality of life and provide an opportunity to help the victims and assist in the process of finding the perpetrators. Many of the perpetrators will have multiple victims as Lassa declared that they could have over 80 to 100 victims and will continue to perpetuate well into old age (Lassa, 2013). If the bill is not instated, then the perpetrators would be given the opportunity to continue on with their behavior. According to the Darkness to Light Organization, in 2015, there were 400,000 babies born in the United States that would have fallen victim to child sexual abuse in which many of these children would be abused before the age of eight (Child, 2015).  The Congressional Record, (2002) the average pedophile molests 201 victims during their lifetime (p. 3196) that means 60,300 children were protected and that was just in California alone. About 60,300 innocent lives saved from one bill (Support, n.d). The mission here is to protect the victims, protect the potential victims, and to seek justice.

By passing this bill, abusers will be caught before they abuse more victims. The CVA is meant to prevent and reduce the number of individuals victimized by sexual abuse. If opposed, abusers will continue abusing hundreds of innocent individuals. Understanding these reasons, the advocates support the passing of the Child Victims Act in Wisconsin. Everybody deserves to be able to report his or her abuser!

References

148 Cong. Rec. 3196 (2002).

Criminal and Civil Justice (2012). In The National Center for Victims of Crime.

Child Sexual Abuse Statistics. (2015, June 24). Retrieved April 15, 2016, from

http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.9314267/k.3928/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Statistics.htm

Hamilton, M. A. (2016). SOL Reform. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://sol-reform.com/

Lassa, J. (2013, July 3). News. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/lassa/PressReleases/Pages/Legislators-Introduce-Child-Victims-Act-070313.aspx

Support the Child Victim’s Act! (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from

http://www.naswwi.org/support-the-child-victims-act/