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‘Ban the Box’ bill now law in Philly

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed into law a bill designed to prohibit city employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their criminal history until after the first employment review.  Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter – supported by other city leaders and NAACP top officials – this week signed into law a bill designed to prohibit city employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their criminal history until after the first employment review.

The effort to “ban the box” about criminal history is expected to strengthen employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated job seekers.

Nutter said ex-offenders face many hurdles when re-integrating into the workplace, including lack of skills and limited education.

“One of their greatest challenges is overcoming their criminal records. This legislation will make it easier for ex-offenders to be judged by their abilities as opposed to their past,” said Nutter.

“Making available employment options for those with criminal histories contributes to the overall safety and quality of life in Philadelphia. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP president & CEO; Robert Rooks, NAACP director of Criminal Justice Programs; Jerry Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP; Donna Reed Miller, Councilwoman and sponsor of the legislation; Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for Public Safety and others joined Nutter at the event (April 18).

As part of the NAACP’s ongoing effort to encourage corporations and state governments to “ban the box,” next week President Jealous will send a letter to all 50 governors and to municipalities around the country urging them to follow Philadelphia’s lead. In 2009, at the NAACP’s request, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger removed the request about criminal histories from California’s employment applications.

“The City of Brotherly Love believes in second chances,” said Jealous. “Formerly incarcerated people in Philadelphia will now be given a second chance at success. This bill will help the city build strong, stable communities.

“People hired as a result of this policy will be able to contribute to society as workers and as taxpayers. They will be able to reunite with children sent to foster care, and remain by their side. The city that took in Michael Vick has once again shown it believes in the power of redemption.”

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