Five reasons to ban the box
Arvind Hickman, May 23, 2014
Business in the Community's Ban the Box campaign aims to level the playing field for jobseekers with criminal records. Here are five reasons why the campaign makes sense.
1. Untapped talent pool. An estimated 7.5 million Britons have criminal convictions that affect their ability to find work. Ignoring this talent pool at a time of an impending skills shortage makes no economic sense.
2. Prisons are costly and ineffective. Incarceration costs up to £13 billion each year. In 2011-12, the Ministry of Justice estimated a prison place costs £37,648 each year. Further, prisons are not an effective deterrent as 47% of adult prisoners are reconvicted within a year of release.
3. Unemployed ex-offenders cost society. Ex-offenders who cannot find work cost society in several ways: they rely on social security to live; if they are unable to care for their children, this costs the state; and 60% of short-term prisoners re-offend within a year of release.
4. Jobs re-build lives. Research shows that employment reduces offending by up to 50%, so it’s in every community’s interest to reduce the barriers to work for people with criminal convictions.
5. Banning the box levels the playing field. A similar campaign in Minneapolis, USA, showed that 57% of applicants with convictions in the past seven years were hired in 2007-08, compared to just 6% before disclosure was removed (2004-06).