Who New? Obama's 'ban the box' policy helps LGBTQ community...
On Monday, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that institutes a “ban the box” policy for federal agencies—applicants for federal jobs will not have to disclose their criminal records when applying for a position but will have their histories checked later in the hiring process.
The move is “a victory for civil rights groups,” who have been advocating for ensuring that millions of Americans with criminal records have access to gainful employment.
The movement to “ban the box” has already been implemented statewide in seven states, and it’s part of the president’s plan for criminal justice reform.
It also has a significant impact for the LGBTQ community. According to a recent report, “Coming out of the Concrete Closets,” by LGBT prison pen pal organization Black & Pink, LGBTQ people—particularly people of color and poor people—experience high levels of policing and criminalization, leading to arrests and incarceration.
Spectrum previously looked at the damning evidence collected on conditions for LGBTQ prisoners.
Some of the startling evidence Black & Pink found about employment and identity in the 1,118 LGBTQ prisoners they surveyed included:
- More than a third of respondents were unemployed prior to incarceration, seven times higher than the national unemployment rate.
- Thirty-nine percent said they engaged in sex work for survival, while more than half admitted to selling drugs for money.
- Only 29 percent of the incarcerated LGBTQ prisoners completed high school outside of prison.