Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

'Ban-the-box' law unlikely to change hiring practices [Letter]

Columnist Dan Rodricks is correct that "Ban the Box" is "feel-good legislation whose effectiveness is supported by good intentions rather than by the evidence ("'Ban the box' feels good but won't achieve much," March 22).

It won't make any difference. Negligent hiring is a tort action by which a plaintiff can recover damages from an employer who hires an ex-offender, if the ex-offender commits a crime against the plaintiff in the course of his or her duties of employment. Historically, 72 percent of plaintiffs prevail when litigating negligent hiring claims against employers.

In these cases, litigants are awarded an average of $1.6 million in punitive and compensatory damages. Simply removing a box from an application will not make it more likely that an employer will risk this type of exposure.

However, take issue with one of Mr. Rodricks' points. In Baltimore City at any given time, almost 50 percent of African-American males between the ages of 18-35 are under the control of the criminal justice system, either incarcerated or under supervision. Given these circumstances, hiring ex-offenders can't be viewed as a mere luxury or, as you put it, an act of "generosity." Only when we begin to view employing ex-offenders as a matter of public safety will we begin to make progress on this issue.

It is unreasonable to think that we can alienate such a significant portion of the African-American population from the job market without severe repercussions. Our murder and crime rates prove this. Studies show that employment, even marginal employment, reduces recidivism significantly for offenders ages 27 and above.

The communities that suffer the majority of the violence in the city need help addressing this issue. Clearly, the communities need to do their part in cooperating with police. But residents who live in communities rarely affected by the violence in the city can also assist in addressing the issue by making an effort to hire ex-offenders who've demonstrated that they are prepared to conduct themselves appropriately in the workplace.

As Mr. Rodricks rightly stated, we would all benefit if re-entry programs were linked directly to small- and medium-sized businesses that provided job opportunities for program graduates. He deserves thanks for his hard work and advocacy regarding this issue.

Maurice Vann

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • In Md., deficits are nothing new
    In Md., deficits are nothing new

    "Somewhere along the way, as Maryland's revenue picture went from bad to worse, a scary term entered the Annapolis lexicon: the 'structural deficit.'" So said The Baltimore Sun on February 9, 2003 as then-Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. proposed a plan to wipe out a $2 billion dollar shortfall...

  • Md. leaders protect funds for bay cleanup
    Md. leaders protect funds for bay cleanup

    Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, along with Rep. Steny Hoyer, deserve our thanks for securing funding in the recent omnibus appropriations bill to keep Maryland on track to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams ("For better or worse, spending bill passes," Dec. 15).

  • CIA interrogators should not be punished
    CIA interrogators should not be punished

    I strongly suggest anyone who agrees with letter writer Max Obuszewski's idea to punish the CIA personnel who did their job under the direction of our government read about the torture inflicted upon our own troops in past wars and conflicts ("Failure to punish the CIA torturers means they will...

  • Revisit 'old-school' police programs
    Revisit 'old-school' police programs

    The recent influx of citizen unrest due to a rash of officer-related homicides has left the American citizenry skeptical of the greater good police departments bring to communities nationwide, especially that of traditionally violent neighborhoods that tend to have a majority of minority...

  • Torture can never be justified
    Torture can never be justified

    The Senate report's summary of the "enhanced interrogation" techniques the CIA used on terrorist detainees after 9/11 reads like something from a horror novel ("CIA strikes back after Senate torture report," Dec....

  • Obama is right on Cuba
    Obama is right on Cuba

    Bravo to President Barack Obama for undertaking the normalization of relations with Cuba ("Cuba releases Alan Gross; White House announces plans to re-establish diplomatic relations with Havana," Dec. 17).

Comments
Loading