In addition to working on this issue on a local level over the past year, JPI advocated on the state level to “ban the box” statewide. This bill, however, goes a step further than what the state passed in 2012 which omitted the question only on state employment applications. The new law in Baltimore requires that all employment applications no longer ask whether or not a job seeker has a felony offense. Employers who work with vulnerable populations are exempt from the new law.
The new bill provides a meaningful opportunity for returning citizens to obtain employment which is crucial to successful re-entry. Many Marylanders who have been in contact with the justice system have been locked out of the workforce because of criminal records. The new law will allow them to be judged on merits and qualifications to do the work before they have to disclose a criminal record.