RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An effort is underway at the General Assembly to get North Carolina to “ban the box.”
Some state lawmakers want to see a law that bans state employers from asking applicants if they are convicted criminals early in the application process.
Supporters of the legislation say it’s the right thing to do.
Right now, this bill has one Republican sponsor and all the remaining sponsors are Democratic.
Charles Evans is one of the people who say they couldn’t find employment because of his record.
He struggled with drug addiction but eventually rebuilt his life and is now vice chair of the Cumberland County Commission.
But it wasn’t easy.
“It’s very important to me that ban the box is done throughout the state,” Evans said.
Ban the box means getting rid of the box and the question that asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”
Some state lawmakers filed a bill that would remove the box from state job applications.
“We don’t want to penalize people for the rest of their lives for a mistake that has been made,” said Rep. Rodney Moore (Mecklenburg).
Supporters say it would not only help those with a record get a second chance but they say it would also improve the crime rate.
“If you make it hard to do the right thing, you make it easy to do the wrong thing,” said Dennis Gaddy with Community Success Initiative.
Employers could inquire about an applicant’s criminal history once they make a conditional employment offer.
Evans says having this law would have made things easier when he was trying to get back on his feet.
“Yes, eventually, you will have to fess up to what you have done. But at least give them the door to come through and get that opportunity that they deserve,” Evans said.
This bill is in the house rules committee
This type of legislation has been introduced before and has not passed at the state level.