- With Ban the Box laws trending nationwide, a group of employers, including Facebook, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, is pledging to give ex-cons a second chance, according to Think Progress.
- Nineteen major employers met at the White House Monday and pledged to update their hiring practices to lower the barriers to employment for those with criminal records. Under the Fair Chance Business Pledge, the employers will add the “ban the box” concept, which will delay questions about an applicant’s criminal record until it can be placed in context.
- President Barack Obama’s active role in criminal justice system reform, including easing ex-cons’ re-entry into society, has received support from liberal and conservatives alike. Even the conservative Koch brothers, who control Koch Industries, have made criminal justice reform a priority, Fortune reports. Over the past decade, the Kochs have donated up to seven figures for the cause, according to an article in The Atlantic.
Think Progress reports that as of 2014, nearly 90% of all U.S. employers asked job applicants about criminal histories, and 60 to 75% of former inmates were unable to get work within the first year of release. Of course, that cycle means those same people are more likely to resort to criminal activity to survive, according to Think Progress.
According to the White House, there currently are approximately 2.2 million Americans behind bars. The U.S. accounts for 5% of the world’s population, and 25% of its inmates. Each year, more than 600,000 inmates are released from federal and state prisons, and another 11.4 million individuals cycle through local jails. Around 70 million Americans have some sort of criminal record — almost "one in three Americans of working age," the White House reports.
As a result, millions of Americans have difficulty finding employment, and the Fair Chance Business Pledge is hoping to make a difference, according to the White House.
Along with companies already mentioned, employers that signed the pledge include American Airlines, Xerox, Unilever, Starbucks, Uber, Prudential and Google. Here's a complete list along with each specific pledge.