Mayor's Task Force to Suggest "Banning the Box"

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COLUMBIA - The Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence is set to present a report to the Columbia City Council at its meeting Monday evening that would restrict quesitons about criminal records.

The report is on a proposal known as "Ban the Box." If an ordinance is passed, it would bar employers in Columbia from asking job applicants about their criminal record until the final step of the application process.

At this point, the task force hopes the city council will propose legislation to move the issue forward. Task force member Christopher Haynes said the concept would be a step in the right direction for ex-convicts in Columbia.

"I believe it would give them the opportunity to see a person face-to-face, so they can really get past the stereotypical thing about a guy who went to prison," Haynes said. "A lot of guys went to prison for the smallest, pettiest of things."

The task force said other midwest cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis and Kansas City have banned the box. Kansas City implemented its measure in spring 2013. Right now, Kansas City is the only Missouri city which has banned the box.

Applications for Columbia city jobs have had the box removed since 2012. Task force members hope that extends to all applications across the city.

The Columbia City Council meeting begins Monday, June 2 at 7 p.m.

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