House Bill 233, entitled Ban the Box, can make getting a job a little bit easier for those people with prior convictions. Primary sponsors are Democratic Whips, Rep. Garland Pierce and Rodney Moore, along with Rep. Cecil Brockman and Rep. Charles Graham.
The bill’s primary purpose is to reduce barriers to employment for people with criminal histories, and decrease unemployment in communities with concentrated numbers of people with criminal records. The goal of the bill is to reduce recidivism and improve economic stability for communities. Rep. Chuck McGrady, the sole Republican signed on to the bill, is also a primary sponsor for raising the juvenile age, which is also designed to reduce long term recidivism and improve economic and social stability in North Carolina.
Contrary to many of the misconceptions about this bill, it does not prevent employers from learning about the criminal history of individuals applying for positions. The bill calls for the elimination of the requirement to disclose that the applicant has a criminal record on the initial application. This change will allow job seekers with criminal back grounds to make a first impression on the employer without the negative stigma of knowing the applicant made a mistake in the past. The bill would only remove the question of previous criminal convictions from most city, county, and state job applications.
Dennis Gaddy, with Community Success Initiative, told the News and Observer that having a job reduces a person’s chance of going back to prison by 50 percent. Carolina Justice Policy Center works to support efforts to help reduce recidivism and improve the quality of North Carolina communities.