“Sometimes People Bar You from Jobs Forever Because of One Incident”
Date:  07-28-2014

Ban the Box is making progress across America, albeit slowly
The following article was posted in Yes!Magazine on July 18, 2014. ( It should be noted that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (also known “Ban the Box”) on July 19, 2014. When Reentry Central asked for a comment from Anthony Lowery, Director of Policy & Advocacy for Chicago’s Safer Foundation, an organization that assists people with a criminal record in finding jobs, Lowery stated, “I would like to congratulate Governor Quinn for having the courage to sign HB 5701, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act. This legislation forms a true partnership between people with records, elected officials and employers in the state of Illinois to eliminate barriers to employment, increase opportunities and provide real second chances for people with records in our state.”)

Why Target Stopped Asking Job Applicants If They've Been Convicted of a Crime

More than 60 counties, cities, and states—and some corporations—are reducing discrimination against former offenders by removing one small box from job applications.

By Nur Lalji July 18, 2014

Kissy Mason understands the importance of second chances. As she grew up in Minneapolis in the '80s and '90s, she watched her family members move in and out of prison and saw the discrimination they faced as a result. “People in my family were being locked up, and then they were locked out of a right to live, a right to employment,” she said. Unemployment is a huge barrier to the success of ex-offenders outside prison walls.

Mason decided early on that she wouldn't follow in their footsteps and end up in the prison system. After moving around Minnesota, she returned to Minneapolis to earn her associate's degree in criminal justice. But in 2006, a domestic argument got out of control and led to a conviction. Mason was offered probation—but her record was no longer clean. Because of a background check that brought up the incident, she no longer qualified for low-income, or Section 8, housing and struggled to find employment. “At that time,” she said, “I had three children, and I was trying to provide for them.”

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