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Don't study discrimination, do something about it [Letter]

In the article, "'Ban the Box' legislation under fire," (March 20), Jason Perkins-Cohen alludes to the fact that the issue of discrimination against reentering citizens in hiring and the impact on those individuals and the community has been studied enough. He's correct. The City Council should swiftly pass this bill which will give people, families and communities a second chance.

What information is already out there? A quick Google search will inform you. For instance, in a 2010 study, researchers found that college students (acting as employers) held a significant bias against hiring the hypothetical applicants with a criminal charge compared to the hypothetical applicants with no criminal charges. A 2009 study investigated the effects of race and a prison record on employment and sent teams of black and white men to apply for low-wage jobs. Despite the groups having similar resumes (and only differing and race and criminal background), the authors found significant negative effect of a criminal record on employment outcomes, especially for African-Americans.

In city that is 64 percent African-American, don't you think this is pretty harmful? Moreover, researchers in that second study stated that overall, their results point to the importance of rapport-building for finding work. Well, how can a job candidate build a rapport with an employer, if he or she cannot get passed the job application hurdle? There are enough empirical studies available that suggest that hiring returning citizens is the right thing to do. Let's move forward and have both the City Council and the Maryland General Assembly approve this measure. It's the right thing to do for our city and state.

Branden A. McLeod, Baltimore

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