'Ban the box' works in Baltimore City

Law doesn't increase discrimination against ex-offenders.

Regarding your report "Ban the Box increases racial discrimination study says," July 31), as director of an agency that works diligently to empower, educate and enforce the laws against discrimination in Baltimore City, I dispute the article's inaccurate portrayal of the Ban the Box law.

The article highlights a study conducted by researchers in Michigan and Connecticut who focused on New Jersey and New York, and it relies exclusively on insights from advocates in California and Washington, D.C.

The lack of local voices represented in the article, including the agency that enforces the law, the sponsor of the original bill, or any of the countless interested individuals and organizations that came together to pass and promote the law, does a huge disservice to The Sun's readers.

The article presented data that eschewed the law's positive outcomes in favor of reporting on certain data outcomes that supported an anti-Ban the Box position.

The Sun only barely alluded to the study’s crucial finding that both black and white job applicants with criminal histories saw a boost in callbacks after the enactment of Ban the Box. The article also failed to point out the self-reported holes in the research, such as using African-American sounding names as the sole indicator of race on the resumes created for the study.

Ban the Box was enacted to address the economic harms suffered by many throughout Baltimore who have been summarily shut out of gainful employment and denied any hopes of economic mobility because of past exposure to the criminal justice system.

We look forward to examining real results in Baltimore that enhance the health and security of the community by assisting individuals with criminal records to lawfully provide for their families and themselves.

Kisha A. Brown, Baltimore

The writer is director of the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights & Wage Enforcement.

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