May 2, 2018

CONTACT: Amie Young, Communications and Events Manager, [email protected], 913-490-4105

ACLU of Kansas Commends Executive Order Banning the Box for Public Sector Employment    

OVERLAND PARK, KS --- In response to Gov. Colyer’s executive order banning the box for public sector employment, ACLU of Kansas executive director Micah Kubic made the following statement:

“The ACLU of Kansas commends Gov. Colyer’s executive order to ban the box on applications for public employment statewide. By barring public sector employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s criminal history on the initial job application, formerly incarcerated individuals are given fairer consideration and better opportunities to secure steady employment, which is absolutely vital to the success of their reentry.

Studies show that disclosing one’s criminal history on an initial application reduces an applicant’s chances of consideration for the position by nearly 50 percent, and that rate is even higher for people of color. As a result, highly qualified applicants are immediately screened out of the interview pool with no consideration for their other merits or achievements.

This problem wreaks havoc on Kansas families and communities and feeds the growing recidivism rate in our state. Communities are strengthened and crime is prevented when formerly incarcerated people are able to work, earn income, pay taxes, and bring structure to their lives.

For those reasons, the ACLU of Kansas and Kansans for Smart Justice, a diverse coalition of civil rights, community improvement, social service, and faith-based organizations, have been staunch supporters of ban the box for several years. Multiple Kansas municipalities, including Wichita, Topeka, and Wyandotte County, have already banned the box on public sector employment. We are pleased with Gov. Colyer’s decision to follow suit and implement the policy statewide and we urge the Legislature to put it in statute as well.

Today’s executive order is an important step towards addressing our state’s cycle of recidivism, but there remains significant work to be done to better prepare Kansans for life after incarceration. We encourage the State to increase funding for programs that offer incarcerated individuals educational opportunities, job training, and mentorship, and to make substance abuse counseling and mental health treatment more widely available to those leaving prison.

By giving Kansans involved with the criminal justice system the tools they need to avoid reoffending, including fair consideration for job opportunities, we can build a safer, stronger state.”