The mayor of Birmingham announced today new hiring practices aimed at curbing discrimination against those with past criminal convictions. Birmingham now joins the ranks of other states and cities banning the box.
Mayor William Bell said too often, those with past criminal convictions are automatically rejected by employers.
“And it’s all because of that box that they have to check off whether or not they’re a convicted felon and we don’t get a chance to really see what they have to offer,” Bell says.
The city would still examine an applicant’s criminal history, just later in the hiring process. For now, the move only affects city jobs, but the mayor says he hopes private employers will follow suit. The Obama administration says the Ban the Box initiative can help boost employment and cut recidivism. The mayor was joined by US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce White Vance and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu.