Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99
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 © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Sun takes advantage of grieving father
    Sun takes advantage of grieving father

    In response to the front page article regarding the terrible fire in Waverly which claimed the life of 3-year-old Azyrie Williams ("Girl, 3, dies in fire at house," March 30), my sincere condolences go out to her family for their loss.

  • Left-wing opinion keeps creeping into Sun “news” articles
    Left-wing opinion keeps creeping into Sun “news” articles

    Another example of left wing media bias appeared in the Sunday Sun in what was a news article. Not opinion, not commentary. In the news article from the Washington Post headlined "Congress circumventing defense cuts it legislated," reporter Walter Pincus writes that the "supercommittee"...

  • O'Malley knows coronations
    O'Malley knows coronations

    The report that former Gov. Martin O'Malley doesn't want Hillary Clinton "coronated" shows just how clueless he is ("O'Malley: Democrats shouldn't coronate Hillary Clinton," March 29). Wasn't Anthony Brown "coronated" by Mr. O'Malley to be our next governor? He should have asked the voters...

  • School construction needs are questionable
    School construction needs are questionable

    The Sun recently reported that the General Assembly is authorizing $20 million for school construction in addition to Gov. Larry Hogan's budget of over $200 million for school-related building and renovations ("Assembly proposes more school construction aid for counties," March 27).

  • Obama should be impeached for meddling with Israeli elections
    Obama should be impeached for meddling with Israeli elections

    It is now a clear fact that President Barack Obama interfered in the recent election of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, which is an impeachable offense. Now where are the Republicans in Congress who need to and should draw up articles of impeachment?

  • What City Hall scandal will The Sun uncover next week?
    What City Hall scandal will The Sun uncover next week?

    Seems as if The Sun is able to turn over scandals in the city administration weekly ("City agency director has law firm with state contract on the side," March 28. It is hard to believe what so-called professionals in Baltimore are able to get away with. Where is the oversight, or, is it part...

Comments
Loading