Governor Deal “Bans the Box”

In line with his criminal justice reform agenda, Governor Deal issued an executive order to improve employment opportunities for individuals with a criminal history. The order lays the groundwork to prohibit the use of a criminal record as an automatic bar to state employment. Positions of a sensitive nature will be exempted from the executive order.

The policy is commonly known as “banning the box,” a reference to the check box often included in employment applications that asks whether applicants have a criminal record.

Governor Deal’s executive order makes Georgia the fourteenth state to improve public employment opportunities for persons with a criminal record and the first in the Deep South.  The City of Atlanta and Fulton County have similar policies in place already.

The movement to improve employment opportunities for those with criminal records has gained significant traction in recent years. In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission endorsed “banning the box” as a best practice. Six states including Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island have extended the policy to apply to private employers, as well.

This may not be the last civil rights issue we see come up with respect to state employees. Karla Drenner’s HB 323 would extend nondiscrimination protections to state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


  1. blakeage80 says:

    Well, we always knew there were a bunch of crooks working ‘up there’. This just makes it official. 🙂 I’m sorry, that was a cheapshot, but I enjoyed taking it.

  2. Noway says:

    Pandering for the criminal vote now, are we? So, further decline in the need for responsible behavior amongst the populace. You a criminal? No prob, they can’t hold it against you! What crap.

    • xdog says:

      Make that ‘former criminal’. I don’t think I’m being muddle-headed about crime by believing conviction should not equal permanent blame and marginalization. There’s a limit, of course. I’m not suggesting hiring embezzlers to handle state funds or pedophiles to manage dfac cases.

    • MattMD says:

      Sometimes people pay a price and deserve a second chance.

      I think it depends on the particular case and the job being sought.

  3. John Konop says:

    The majority of convictions are non violent drug offenses. The scarlet letter of this record is the biggest anchor pushing people into poverty….This is a good first step…

    All Should Read:

    ……..Charles Koch: Overcriminalization in America adds to poverty, strains race relations…….

    ……It began with well-intentioned lawmakers who went overboard trying to solve perceived or actual problems. Congress creates, on average, more than 50 criminal laws each year. Over time, this has translated into more than 4,500 federal criminal laws spread across 27,000 pages of the United States federal code. (This number does not include the thousands of criminal penalties in federal regulations.) As a result, the United States is the world’s largest jailer – first in the world for total number imprisoned and first among industrialized nations in the rate of incarceration. The United States represents about 5 percent of the world’s population but houses about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

    We have paid a heavy price for mass incarceration and could benefit by reversing this trend. Estimates show that at least 53 percent of those entering prison were living at or below the U.S. poverty line when their sentences began. Incarceration leads to a 40 percent decrease in annual earnings, reduced job tenure and higher unemployment. A Pew Charitable Trust study revealed that two-thirds of former inmates with earnings in the bottom fifth upon release in 1986 remained at or below that level 20 years later. A Villanova University study concluded that “had mass incarceration not occurred, poverty would have decreased by more than 20 percent, or about 2.8 percentage points” and “several million fewer people would have been in poverty in recent years.”……

    Read more here:

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