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“Ban the Box” Initiative Could Get Rid of Criminal Record Question on Job Applications

JACKSON, Miss.- Jackson residents may no longer have to tell their future employer about their criminal record on a job application.

Mayor Tony Yarber announced Tuesday at a press conference that he wants to start a “Ban the Box” initiative.

“Ban the Box” is an effort to give citizens who have criminal records a fair chance at getting a job. Yarber said he wants those that have paid their debt to society to be judged on their qualifications.

He says the initiative will begin as a city policy change, which will be implemented by early 2015.

Yarber is asking the City Council to make “Ban the Box” effective through a resolution or possibly an ordinance, to make sure the policy remains in effect beyond the current administration.

The policy won’t prohibit background checks, but he hopes it will keep applicants from being disqualified at the beginning of the hiring process.

Yarber said supporting the employment opportunities of people with records will reduce crime, childhood poverty, and strengthen families.

Currently, 13 states and more than 70 cities and counties have adopted “fair chance” policies.

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