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Slay, Nasheed unveil “ban the box”


Saint Louis, Mo. — St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay and state Senator Jamilah Nasheed announced today that applicants for city jobs will no longer be asked about past felony convictions on their job applications.

Slay calls the new policy “ban the box,” referring to the box an applicant is usually required to check indicating they have felony convictions.

“Millions of Americans have been convicted of felonies,” Slay said at a press conference today. “Many of them have paid their debt to scoeity and are willing to earn a second chance. If we automatically disqualify them, and none of them can get jobs, we should be surprised if some of them wind up back behind bars from committing more crimes.”

Slay said most city jobs come with mandatory background checks, and that the process would be used to keep anyone with past convictions from taking a position that would not be appropriate.

“We’re not going to have an embezzler handling money or anything,” Slay said.

Slay said the stigma of felony convictions has some applicants lying on their applications or worse, simply not applying it at all. Slay said the “box” was discouraging many from even applying. Nasheed said the process was closing the door of opportunity.

“There are so many men and women that pay their debt to society and knock on the doors of opportunity only to have those doors slammed in their face because they walk through that door with the stigma of being a convicted felon,” Nasheed said.

Slay thanked Nasheed for bringing the policy to his attention, which he says the city will now embrace. Nasheed also told reporters that she plans to offer a bill next year to “ban the box” for applicants for state government jobs.