ST. LOUIS – One senator will look to bring the nationwide campaign to “ban the box” in Missouri again.
In an email sent out Tuesday, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, implored her supporters to sign a petition asking Gov. Jay Nixon to stop the practice of asking state employee applicants to check a box about whether or not they have committed a crime.
Proponents of the idea believe a check mark in the box hurts the chances of an offender from re-establishing a livelihood after serving time in jail or prison.
President Barack Obama made headlines earlier this month when he directed federal agencies to take part in the effort, and now Nasheed believes the highest officeholder in Missouri should do the same.
“The City of St. Louis banned the box over a year ago. President Obama announced that he’s doing the same for federal jobs earlier this month. So why hasn’t Jay Nixon banned the box in Missouri?” she asks. “How can we expect former offenders to put food on the table and contribute to society if we make it impossible for them to find employment? They’ve paid their debts and deserve a real second chance. Now, lets tear down the barriers that prevent them from returning to our communities.”
Nasheed also told The Missouri Times that she planned on pre-filing legislation for the 2016 session that would ban the box. She would also like to see it removed from private sector employment applications.
“The state of Missouri should set an example for the private sector,” she says. “We’ll still have the option to run employee background checks. Banning the box just means that former offenders won’t immediately be removed from consideration because of a single checkmark.”