Arizona county adopts “ban the box” for new employees
Jessica De Nova, KPNX 7:32 PM. MST May 15, 2017
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A Coconino County employee with a criminal past was presented with the ‘Ban the Box’ resolution Monday at the Justice Summit in honor of her exemplary success after getting a second chance.
Robin Hebert called the process of completing a job application that asked about a criminal record, “terrifying.” That fear kept Hebert’s life on lockdown as the drugs and crime in her past ate away at her.
“Even though I was qualified to work in offices and jobs of that nature, I didn’t feel comfortable even trying to go get them because of having to check the box,” Hebert said.
Marking the “yes” box on that question told anyone looking at Hebert’s application she didn’t have a clean record.
Monday was a new day for Hebert as the county’s Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Liz Archuleta presented her with the resolution.
“She came in and showed us that giving people with a past a second chance can benefit everyone,” Archuleta said.
Archuleta told dozens from around the state at the Justice Summit there may be others out there, scared to take a chance on themselves and missing the tools they needed to succeed.
“The most fundamental thing they need to have is housing and a job,” Archuleta said.
On May 10, Coconino County joined 150 other communities across the United States, including Tucson, in not requiring job-seekers to disclose a criminal past on their initial applications; however, some positions would still require background checks down the line.
“We hope we’ll be an example to other sectors of government — the business sector, nonprofit sector,” Archuleta said.
Hebert said her probation officers pushed her to apply regardless of the box, but with nothing left to check, she said it was a new day for others like her to start again.
“Recovery is possible … we have opportunities today,” Hebert said.
Archuleta said the county’s HR department is putting together a list of jobs that don’t require background checks and would get the word out about those positions to prospective applicants.