Coconino County opts to 'ban the box' for job applicants

Following a recent special session, the Coconino County board of supervisors unanimously agreed to “ban the box” on job applications, opening up career potential for rehabilitated people with criminal records, a population often hindered professionally.

“This resolution is a significant step in criminal justice reform,” board chair Liz Archuleta said in a press release. “It demonstrates Coconino County is an organization that values the talents and skills all potential employees bring including those who have made mistakes in the past and completed their sentences.”

As a result of the decision, individuals with criminal histories will no longer be required to disclose such records on their initial applications for county employment. The county said on its website that its Human Resources division will still have the ability to decide which specific jobs will continue to mandate background check, including positions working with vulnerable groups or otherwise sensitive by definition.

“We are proud to be part of a national effort with other government agencies and high-profile businesses that have taken similar action to the Board today,” Archuleta said. “I hope this sets the tone for other counties and organizations in Arizona and in the Country to follow suit.”

The jurisdiction will reach out to rehabilitated individuals by connecting with treatment providers, support personnel and other organizations within ex-offenders’ circles, according to the release.

The nationwide movement to Ban the Box began in 2004. An estimated 70 million adults in the U.S. encounter difficulties in attaining employment following incarceration, the release said.

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