Mobile, Alabama Seeks to Establish “Ban the Box” Measure
Date:  12-16-2014

Giving a person with a past criminal conviction a second chance can reduce crime and promote public safety.
Reentry Central has posted numerous articles concerning barriers to successful reentry. One of the biggest obstacles to reintegration back into the community is that many businesses automatically disqualify a qualified person who applies for a job because he or she has a past criminal record. Most of the time the person’s job application will end up in the trash or deleted if that person checks off “yes” to the question “Have you ever been arrested?” or, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

Mobile, Alabama has come to the realization that denying a legal employment opportunity to a person who is looking to turn his or her life around can not only result in a higher recidivism rate, but can also have a negative impact on public safety. An article that appeared in Al.com on December 5 gives hope that Mobile will become the first city in Alabama to establish a Ban the Box measure, and perhaps inspire other cities, and even the state, to do the same.

“MOBILE, Alabama - Lucille Hall makes no excuses for her son's criminal past, but she had some very pointed questions for the Mobile City Council's Rules Committee earlier this week as it considered the legality of a proposed resolution that could directly impact his future. "I'm not upholding him for the crime he committed, but he should be allowed a second chance," Hall said of Carlos Williams, now 34, who was 18 when he was convicted of armed robbery.

Although Williams served seven years of his 20-year sentence before being released and is "nearing the end" of his probation, Hall said his conviction history haunts his attempts to find gainful employment and support his family in Mobile.

Hall said she was speaking on her son's behalf Tuesday because the only job Williams has been able to attain - and that "came within the last month" - is with a locally-based company's Jacksonville, Fla., operations as a pipefitter.”

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