Ex-cons deserve total equity on applications

The criminal justice system in the United States is one of the greatest disgraces of this country. Not only are prisoners subjected to inhumane and cruel conditions in correctional facilities, but they are then returned to a society that has no intention of giving them a second chance. Ex-convicts are subjected to discriminatory employment application processes that present them as far less eligible candidates to potential employers.

President Obama has recently brought attention to the Ban the Box initiative which aims to aid ex-cons in their process of becoming a functioning member of society. Obama’s initiative has recently propositioned Congress to institute bipartisan legislation that would ban the box on job applications that asks whether or not a person has been convicted for a crime, for federal hiring and hiring by federal contractors.

The implementation of this process will help to end the malicious cycle of poverty and criminality that has plagued so many communities. Often times people who have been previously incarcerated are unable to obtain employment and in turn end up living in poverty, increasing their chance of resorting to criminal actions to survive and return them to the system they want desperately to leave.

Not just living, but surviving is no easy task for an ex-con. Many suffer from mental health issues, and are likely returning to a community without a job, but now have to remind potential employers of the debt they supposedly just finished “paying back to society.” This specific part of the job application process is putting one more obstacle in their way as they try to return to being an active member of their community.

It is time to recognize that blame must be placed on the American criminal justice system for impoverished, underfunded, violent areas in the U.S. The arrest rate of people in poverty is significantly higher than that of people in suburban areas. Ripping people from their homes takes a serious toll on families, who not only lose a loved one but possibly a contributor to their income.

The process of eliminating the box asking ex-cons about their past will allow for one less obstacle to stand in the way of the rehabilitation of men and women and aid them in their process of returning as contributing member of their communities.  This act will help end the cycles of poverty and the criminality that are responsible for the demise of certain neighborhoods. Ex-convicts can be given a second chance and join the workforce of their community.

The bipartisan laws Obama has introduced to Congress will be a hugely beneficial step in the process to eliminate America’s poverty.  These laws will also result in a decline in criminal acts occurring in specific communities in the U.S.

Obama’s Ban the Box initiative deserves the full support of every American citizen able to rationalize that everyone deserves a second chance. The U.S. as a society must feel compassion for their fellow man. Men and women who are released from prison have paid their debt to society. That is why the law has allowed them to return. What gives anyone the right to stand in the way of that process? The Ban the Box initiative is one that must be passed, as it is one that will benefit the people of the U.S. by providing them with a truly liberated opportunity to return to society as active and contributing members.