Ban the Box… Why not Ban Bad Behavior?

In last week’s blog post, I expressed my concern that Americans are no longer encouraged to accept “personal responsibility.” I referenced an article in The Des Moines Sunday Register about a women who said she was having a hard time finding a job due to a felony conviction. Today I need to revisit this issue because there is a movement to remove the consequences of inappropriate behavior.

President Obama is directing federal agencies to “ban the box,” prohibiting them from asking prospective government employees about their criminal histories on job applications. This week The Des Moines Register ran an editorial, stating that Iowa needs to “ban the box.” An excerpt from this editorial reads:

Over the past 20 years, government authorities have made 250 million arrests. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has more than 77 million individuals in its master criminal database and adds about 10,000 names each day. 

Here’s the deal… I’ve been listening to the sermons lately as I have been attending church on Sundays. Saul, a very nasty man who was totally against Christians, became Paul, the man that started our tradition of organized churches. Talk about second chances!

I truly believe in second chances, but I believe being clear and transparent is the best way to start again. People make mistakes. If that person who made the mistake really wants to turn his life around, hiding his criminal record is not a good start!

We can’t all have a transformation such as Paul, but we should at least try. Making excuses or hiding information doesn’t make a person responsible for his actions. Lowering our standards and expectations doesn’t empower people nor motivate them to try harder or become better. This society has been going the wrong direction for quite some time, and it’s time to take personal responsibility!