Volume 56
Issue 2
Spring '19

A Roadmap for Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform to Employ Ex-Offenders: Beyond Title VII and Ban the Box

Written By: Claire Ashley Saba

Abstract

This Note argues that the federal government needs to go beyond Ban the Box and Title VII in order to address one facet of America’s mass incarceration by promoting employment of ex-offenders. While Title VII addresses racial employment discrimination against Black ex-offenders, Title VII is a patch- work solution to a larger problem. Though useful in eliminating conviction records as an initial barrier to employment, Ban the Box legislation does not address the issues raised by criminal history reporting. Ultimately, bipartisan, multifaceted federal criminal justice reform focused on expungement and seal- ing past records, fixing criminal background checks, and limiting the use of background checks in employment decisions will ameliorate America’s prison problem.

This Note details the problems associated with and solutions for America’s mass incarceration crisis through employment. Section I describes how the criminal justice system intersects with employment, identifies issues with criminal his- tory accuracy, and argues for criminal history reform. Section II focuses on the current federal solution which uses Title VII to bring claims based on race to remedy employment discrimination involving criminal history. Section III dis- cusses state and local Ban the Box efforts aimed at curbing employment discrimination against ex-offenders. Finally, Section IV explains why federal legislation aimed at both adequately expunging and sealing convictions and banning the box will help address America’ s prison problem and provides a roadmap for how to pass such legislation.

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