City Hires More with Criminal Background After “Ban Box” Vote

City Hires More with Criminal Background After “Ban Box” Vote

Tallahassee Reports has learned that the number of people with a criminal background hired by the City of Tallahassee has increased during the year after the “Ban the Box” initiative was passed by the Tallahassee City Commission.

“Ban the Box” is the slogan used by a nationwide movement that identified job and housing discrimination as huge barriers to those returning to communities after jail or prison. Supporters of the movement encourage employers to choose their best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions.

In early 2015, led by Mayor Andrew Gillum, the City of Tallahassee adopted a form of “Ban the Box” in a controversial 3-2 vote. City Commissioners Gil Ziffer and Scott Maddox voted against the measure, while Commissioner Nancy Miller and Curtis Richardson supported the proposal.

The following information was recently provided to Tallahassee Reports by the City’s Human Resource Department.

Percentage of Hires with Criminal Background
YEAR          % Hired (Number)

2014            11.3%    (89)
2015            11.3%    (77)
2016            15.9%   (106)

The information shows that in 2014, before the City of Tallahassee passed “Ban the Box” in 2015, 11.3% of the 816 people hire had criminal backgrounds. The numbers remained approximately the same in 2015.

However, in 2016 the percentage of those hired with criminal backgrounds increased to 15.9%. The means that 107 of the 680 new hires had a criminal background.

A comprehensive study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that in 2008 “about one in 15 working-age adults was an ex-felon.” This number translates to about 7% of the workforce.

“Ban the box” has long been supported by liberal criminal justice reform advocates. But conservatives and libertarians are also supporting the initiative. For example, eighteen states have enacted “ban the box” legislation, including states governed by Republicans.

The Washington Examiner reported that Chris Christie signed legislation banning the box in 2014. John Kasich did the same thing in Ohio in 2015. As governor of Florida, Jeb Bush signed an executive order promoting the hiring of ex-offenders. Also, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has introduced federal legislation to seal the criminal records of non-violent offenders.

8 Responses to "City Hires More with Criminal Background After “Ban Box” Vote"

  1. Thanks, when I help her do her taxes, I will check. Personally, I would rather the money go to the SSA than to a private fund. But I guess that’s the city’s decision.

  2. Hiring part time employees for summer camps is probably part of the answer. That brings up another issue. My daughter worked for a city summer camp for just above minimum wage for 10 weeks over the summer when she was home from college. Guess what? she is getting a statement for her retirement benefits. She has several hundred dollars that the city put into an account for her! Why on earth is the city doing that for a part time employee? If they are doing it for hundreds of kids every summer that is a waste. The city needs to stop this practice, and only give benefits for a full time permanent employee.

    1. Phil, the City does not participate in Social Security and as a result are required to contribute to employee’s retirement instead. If you look at your daughter’s pay stub there were no SS withholdings and the City did not have to send any SS money to the Feds.

    2. The city opted out of Social Security and by law have their employees contribute to a deferred compensation program. She can get that $$$ out when she quits…minus taxes.

  3. Oregon has also adopted this “Ban the Box”.However they’re are companies that still discriminate.its only used when it benefits them.I personally filled out applications and was asked twice on app.if I had a until there is a “PENALTY” for companies that violate law it will continue.which leads to recidivism.Ex felons shouldn’t be excluded if they meet all the qualifications.this practice of discrimination keeps people from becoming successful members of society.

  4. How is the city hiring 600 or 800 people per year? That is huge. How many people work for the city in total? Maybe 2000 or 3000? Maybe half are police and fire. Are there that many people retiring or leaving city employment? Is that like a 25 percent turnover rate? per year? That would be worth investigating.

    1. Remember they do a bunch of hiring for those part time jobs in rec and parks so I’m sure most of it is for their camps officials and lifeguards. Of course, the mayor has 63 aids so then there is that.

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