The Limits of Ban-the-Box Legislation

Clean Slate
Background Checks
Criminal and Juvenile Records
Records Clearance, Expungement, and Sealing
Reentry population:
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

The Limits of Ban-the-Box Legislation

This Institute for Research on Labor and Employment brief serves to provide policy recommendations on Ban-the-Box (BtB), employment, and reentry.

Through surveys and interviews of probationers in the San Francisco Bay Area, the authors learned that three major barriers continue to limit individuals’ ability to benefit from BtB policies.

  • First, few of the survey respondents knew about BtB at all, much less that it had been implemented.
  • Second, whether they knew about BtB or not, the majority perceived that they had recently been discriminated against because they had criminal records, with a significant minority to a majority reporting discrimination at each stage of the hiring process.
  • Third, Black respondents also perceived that employers continue to discriminate against Black applicants, making finding and keeping work extremely difficult.

In this brief, the authors elaborate on these three points in the hopes that their findings will inform the development not only of fair chance policies aimed at increasing employment opportunities for justice-involved individuals, but also of a broader set of policies on employment and re-entry.