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.


“Ban­the­Box” Laws Impact Employer Use of Criminal Records Information. (2016). In Boardman & Clark. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from­the­box­laws­impact­employer­use­of­c 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 from­box­will­benefit­both­justice­system­and­ec
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 from­the­box­movement­ viral.aspx
The Ban the Box Campaign. (2015). In Ban the Box Campaign. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from
Wisconsin’s Fair Chance Law. (2016). In Verify Protect. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from­the­box/wisconsin/
Wisconsin State Legislature. (2013). In Wisconsin Legislation. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from


One thought on “Ban the Box

  1. 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. 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 that 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. In the state of Wisconsin, their 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 does not get passed, 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. 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. By acknowledging 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!


    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

    Hamilton, M. A. (2016). SOL Reform. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from

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

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

    Liked by 1 person

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