‘Ban the box’ legislation could open more employment doors for ex-offenders

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) — Friday morning Richmond leaders who are looking to change the law, were joined by those convicted of breaking the law.

“I’ve made mistakes in my life like everybody else in the world,” Felicia Griffin–who believes she has been was denied employment by the city of Richmond said.  “And just like everybody else in the world I have a dream.”

But Griffin said her dream has been deferred time and time again, because of her past mistakes that eventually landed her behind bars.

“I have a dream to have a career and not just a job,” Griffin said.  “We are more than what the world labeled us, felons.  We are more than that.”

Richmond Councilwoman Michelle Mosby is standing up for those like Griffin.  Mosby has launched a campaign to “ban the box” on job applications that ask about prior convictions.

“What ‘ban the box’ does is defer background checks until the final stages of the hiring process,” Mosby said during Friday’s press conference.

The councilwoman believes by eliminating the box, the focus will no longer be on a person’s criminal history but instead what they can brig to a hiring company.

“Let’s ban together and ban the box.”

The proposed legislation would only apply to city positions and not private employment.  Cities like Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and Newport News are just a few that have already made the change.

Governor Bob McDonnell’s office released a statement.  It reads:

“Regarding state employment application, the governor supports second chances and reintegration into society, demonstrated by his re-entry efforts and his record on restoration of rights (restoring more rights than any previous governor), but there are some positions in state government for which some convictions are an appropriate immediate disqualifier.”

The issue regarding the “ban the box” ordinance will be up for consideration during a city council vote on Monday, March 25, at 6:00 p.m.

Stay with CBS 6 and WTVR.com for more details.

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