“Ban the Box” Law Signed at Statehouse

Men and women transitioning from incarceration to the community face many challenges. Housing comes first, and that is where Dismas of Vermont steps up to lend a hand. Finding a job comes next, and for our residents, often burdened by the stigma of incarceration and perhaps struggling with poverty, uneven work experience, disability or recovery from addiction, finding employment can be a monumental struggle. Even if our residents have excellent work skills, as many do, checking the box on employment applications that says “have you been convicted of a crime” often means that a former prisoner will be eliminated from consideration before he or she can even shake hands and meet an employer. Dismas was pleased, therefore, to provide testimony to House Committees on two occasions while they were debating whether to make such application requirements illegal for all employers, as it already had been for Vermont State jobs.  Dismas was proud to be there with Governor Shumlin on May 3rd to witness “Ban the Box” legislation  (H261), signed into law.