Current Reentry News
White House Proposes New Ban the Box Regulations for Federal Government Jobs: Give Your Feedback by July 1st
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management
(OPM) has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register
that would “Ban the Box” for a significant number of positions in the Federal Government and prohibit the government from asking about the criminal history of applicants for Federal employment until later in the hiring process after a conditional job offer. Promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals who have paid their debt to society makes communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; assists those who return from prison, jail, or juvenile justice facilities to become productive citizens; and saves taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. OPM is asking for public feedback on the initiative.
Click here to give your feedback by July 1st.
The president took further action via a memorandum
, institutionalizing the Federal Interagency Reentry Council and requiring federal agencies involved with licensing to revise procedures to prevent discrimination against people with records. Part of the federal initiative is to have companies "take the pledge" to ban the box, expanding the scope of the initiative beyond federal jobs. This federal webpage
lists out over 100 employers that have taken the pledge.
The Four Questions Likely Saving Lives at the Bexar County Jail
KENS 5 News released an article about suicide in the Bexar County Jail. The jail averaged three suicide attempts a day as recently as last year, according to figures provided to the KENS 5 I-Team. Starting last July, all people arrested in Bexar County receive a mental health screening at the central magistrate's office and receive another while being booked into the jail. People in custody are asked four questions:
1. Have you ever been seen by a doctor for mental illness?
2. Have you ever been prescribed medication for mental illness?
3. Have you, in the past, considered or tried to kill yourself?
4. Are you considering killing yourself today?
With the implemented changes the jail has become the national model for how to screen inmates for mental health issues. The new mental health screening tool used has played a role in drastically reducing the suicide rate. The number of inmates who have committed suicide in jail custody has dropped roughly 50 percent since 2013, according to BCSO figures. Read the full article here.
Justice Department Program to no Longer Use Disparaging terms ‘Felons’ and ‘Convicts’
The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs
is getting rid of the terms “felon” and “convict” when officials refer to individuals convicted of crimes. The Office of Justice Programs plans to substitute terminology such as “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated” in speeches and other communications as part of an effort to remove barriers that officials say hinder progress of those who re-enter society after completing their prison sentences. To read the full article from The Washington Post click here
The National Employment Law Project Released a Report on Licensing Restrictions Across All 50 States
Passing a criminal background check is a common requirement to obtain a state occupational license. The American Bar Association’s inventory of penalties against those with a record has documented 27,254 state occupational licensing restrictions. “Blanket bans are preventing people with convictions from entering state-regulated occupations, and although more states are paying attention to this issue, stronger reforms are needed,” said Michelle Natividad Rodriguez, NELP senior staff attorney and report lead author. “Given that nearly one in three adults in the U.S. has a record, the effects on communities and our nation’s economy are far-reaching. Any serious effort to address racial disparities in employment must root out unwarranted barriers to occupational licenses.” For the full report click here.