Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Neera Tanden Commends OPM’s Federal Rule to “Ban The Box”
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Neera Tanden Commends OPM’s Federal Rule to “Ban The Box”

Press Contacts

  • Tanya Arditi

Washington, D.C. — Today, as part of National Reentry Week, the Obama Administration is announcing the release of a proposed rule that would “ban the box” for federal jobs. This would eliminate the requirement for federal job applicants to check a box on their applications indicating if they have a criminal record. This measure would give qualified jobseekers with criminal records a fair shot at federal jobs. Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:

We commend President Obama for taking this important step to enable Americans with criminal records to have a second chance. Having even a minor criminal record can present lifelong barriers to the basic building blocks of economic security and mobility—most notably employment. This has broad implications—not only for the individuals who are prevented from moving on with their lives and who find themselves unjustly shut out of the labor market but also for their families and children, as nearly half of U.S. kids now have a parent with a criminal record. By giving qualified American jobseekers a fair shot at federal jobs, the president’s fair chance hiring rule will ensure that the federal government is a model employer. This measure has the potential to make a sizable dent in the nation’s poverty rate, reduce racial inequality, keep families together, boost labor force participation, and save taxpayer dollars in the form of reduced incarceration costs—all while increasing public safety.

In a recent report from the Center for American Progress, “One Strike and You’re Out,” Rebecca Vallas and Sharon Dietrich address how mass incarceration and criminal records serve as underappreciated drivers of poverty and inequality in America by presenting barriers to employment, housing, education and training, building good credit, and more. In a follow-up report, “Removing Barriers to Opportunity for Parents With Criminal Records and Their Children,” CAP analysis estimates that nearly 1 in 2 U.S. children now have at least one parent with a criminal record. The two reports together offer a road map of policy recommendations—including a fair chance federal hiring policy similar to the one released by OPM today—to ensure that Americans with criminal records have a fair shot at making a decent living, providing for their families, and joining the middle class.

Related resources:

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya S. Arditi at tarditi@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6258.

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