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City of Philadelphia

Ban The Box

Do you believe that everyone deserves an education? Join students, teachers, lawyers, and formerly incarcerated advocates as we tell Philadelphia Colleges and Universities...Ban the box! Unlock Education! In the US, more than 70 Million people have a criminal record (more than the entire population of France!). These records hold people back and shackle people to their pasts. Whenever prospective students with criminal records apply to college in Philadelphia, they are confronted with confusing, exclusionary, and discriminatory questions about their criminal records. 60% of applicants who checked the box on their application (stating that they had a criminal record) DID NOT complete their application (see report linked below for more information). This deterrent further locks out potential students from opportunities that keep people free, and help our friends and family members achieve their dreams (not just dead end jobs). The best way to keep people free is to connect those in reentry with positive, life-affirming programs and opportunities. Education frees us all, join us as we ask Temple University, and every college in Philadelphia to #BanTheBox on their college application and unlock educational opportunities for all Philadelphians! This campaign is being co-organized by the Reentry Think Tank, People's Paper Co-op and Community Legal Services

It is illegal in Philadelphia for employers to ask about criminal backgrounds during the job application process. The Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards Ordinance (“Ban the Box”) helps ensure that employers initially make hiring and other employment decisions based on work qualifications, without considering a person’s criminal record. The law restricts when an employer can inquire about a person’s criminal history and how it can be used. Ban the Box helps to open doors to employment for the 1 in 3 Philadelphians with a criminal record, and reduces recidivism.

Changes to the Ban the Box Law

Learn about changes to the law that ensure more people with criminal records have a fair chance at employment. Amendments to the law go into effect on March 14, 2016.

Ban the Box At-A-Glance

Read a summary of the law and learn what employers can and cannot do with criminal records during the hiring processes and while you’re at work.

How to File a Complaint

If you believe an employer has violated the law, follow these steps to file a complaint.