“Ban the Box” proposal has limitations say advocates helping to mainstream inmates

Maryland

Bill Gaertner with Gatekeepers says of Congressman Trone’s “Ban the Box” proposal that it helps a released inmate get an interview but an employer background check will eventually discover the applicant’s conviction.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Congressman David Trone (D-Md.) has a proposal to “ban the box.”

It’s the term used to refer to an employment application which asks if you have been convicted of a crime. If so, just check the box. Maryland is one of eight states that has done away with that question, but Trone wants it to be federal law. He says gainful employment is the best way for inmates, after serving their time, to get their lives on track.

A Hagerstown-based advocate for mainstreaming inmates after their release commented on the issue.

“If one had to put on an application that he or she has been incarcerated and or is a felon, immediately you’re done,” says Bill Gaertner with Gatekeepers. “It doesn’t make sense. What ban the box does is conceal a criminal background giving you an equal chance to apply and interview for a job.”

Gaertner says everyone deserves a second chance. While “banning the box” can get a job applicant in the door, it’s another story, Gaertner explains, when the employer conducts a background check.

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