The Benefits of Ban the Box: A Case Study of Durham, NC

Justice System Reform

For many job applicants around the country, one question blocks them from gainful employment and economic opportunity. A single question, often posed as a checkbox on the front of most job applications, asks about an applicant’s criminal history. For many employers, it has become a way to weed out applicants before ever considering qualifications such as education and job history. This practice is widespread, and its effects on job applicants and their communities are staggering. A movement to “Ban the Box” (remove the checkbox from applications) was birthed as a response to the structural discrimination faced by people with criminal records. This report details:

  1. the need for Ban the Box policies in communities directly impacted by mass incarceration;
  2. the history and core strategy of the Ban the Box movement;
  3. how Ban the Box polices increase the tax base, reduce recidivism, and expand the qualified applicant pool for employers;
  4. the critical components of the campaign in Durham, North Carolina; and
  5. the employment outcomes since adoption of Ban the Box policies in Durham.

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