Move to ‘Ban the Box’ permanently in Brown County

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A ordinance to permanently prevent Brown County job applicants from being asked if they’ve been convicted of a crime, goes before the county board soon. Local 5 reports those behind it believe it’s a policy whose time has come.

Brown County Supervisor Mark Becker is out to make a change. 

“This is a common-sense thing, this is an easy thing to do,” said Becker.

Making permanent through ordinance – a policy Brown County’s Human Resources director started last month.

“If she can take it off just like that, the next person can put it on just like that,” Becker said.

Coming just days after Becker introduced a resolution –  requesting the box on applications that asks if job applicants have ever been convicted of a crime – be removed.

“If you got into a fight 10 year ago outside of a bar in Brown County you have to check that box,” said Becker.

It’s called Ban the Box and it is a nationwide effort to remove barriers to employment for those who have convictions. A move being pushed by justice organizations like JOSHUA.

“It gives people opportunity to get their foot in the door to have an interview,” said Pastor Marian Boyle Rohloff, a member of JOSHUA.

Pastor Rohloff says the box has been banned in the cities of Appleton, Racine and Madison, as well as Milwaukee County. She says Becker’s ordinance will create a better community.

“People do change and we are better as a community if people have that second chance,” said Rohloff. 

But Brown County Supervisor Pat Evans says the county has a right to know up front – any applicant’s conviction record.

“If the county asks if they have a drivers license up front –  then why don’t we want to know if they have a criminal history up front,” Evans said.

All Becker wants is a fair hiring process that considers all qualified candidates. 

“It gives them an opportunity to talk about it, instead of being thrown in the trash and not getting that opportunity from the start,” Becker said.

Background checks remain part of the hiring process.

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