Effects of Federally Mandating "Ban the Box"

Last month, President Obama signed an executive order making it easier for convicts to find jobs. The "Ban the Box" initiative has been growing across the country, with many states, counties, and municipalities enacting legislation making it illegal for employers to inquire about criminal convictions prior to a formal offer of employment. The executive order has now made the same true for federal job applicants. The "delay of inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process" provides for less discrimination for rehabilitated offenders, said Obama.

In a rare show of collaboration, Republicans and Democrats collaborated on the issue in recent years.

The law will directly affect thousands of current ex-offenders seeking employment with federal agencies.

It also has a far-reaching affect on all Americans. With about 650,000 inmates released each year, most find obtaining gainful employment increasingly difficult. Unemployment rates top out at about 75% for those out in their first year, compared to the nation average of about 5.1%. 

The executive order, combined with the many bills passed across the nation, could even the playing field for the inmates and their clean-record job competitors. Ex-offender's families should benefit from having both their parents gainfully employed as well. Slate reports that 75% of ex-convicts and their families live below the poverty line.

Increasing income does increase quality of life, and many of these measures are passed in the hopes that gainful employment makes it less likely for multiple offenses to occur, cutting down on crime across the nation.