North Carolina Nonprofit Fights for Ban the Box Policies

By Michael Klazema on 11/6/2016

A nonprofit organization in North Carolina is pushing for the adoption of ban the box policies throughout the state. Per a report from the Fox 8 news station based in High Point, North Carolina, the organization in question—the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (or the NCHRC)—wants to introduce a bill to the legislation in January geared toward helping ex-criminal offenders gain a competitive foothold in the job market.

North Carolina has no state policies that incorporate the ban the box movement. There are no cities or jurisdictions that currently ban the box for private employers. Per the National Employment Law Project, there are 10 jurisdictions in the state that have ban the box policies in place for some or all public jobs. Those jurisdictions include the cities of Asheville, Carrboro, Charlotte, Durham City, and Spring Lake, as well as Buncombe County, Cumberland County, Durham County, Mecklenburg County, and Wake County.

The NCHRC wants similar policies on the books in other cities and counties throughout North Carolina. For now, per recent coverage, the nonprofit is hoping to add to the list of areas that ban the box for public positions. Implementing Fair Chance Employment standards for public employers could come later, the organization explained, but it isn't the NCHRC's current legislative goal.

As with most ban the box policies, the NCHRC wants to remove questions about criminal history from job applications. Per reports, the current proposed policies are more lenient than some ban the box ordinances, which ask employers to wait until after extending conditional offers of employment to run background checks. If the NCHRC succeeds, employers would be able to run background checks right after the first job interview.

The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition does not identify itself solely as a Fair Chance Employment organization. On the NCHRC website, the nonprofit is described as "a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to the implementation of harm reduction interventions, public health strategies, drug policy transformation, and justice reform in North Carolina and throughout the American South."

Per reports, the NCHRC is fighting against systems that it believes causes recidivism. In the Fox 8 report, a spokeswoman for the organization said that, without second chances, ex-offenders are far more likely to return to lives of crime. By battling for ban the box, she said, the NCHRC aims to help give ex-offenders second chances so that they get more opportunities to rebuild their lives.



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