Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman relays another unintended consequence of a “reform” proposal.
This time it is the effort to make it easier for black men who have been incarcerated to get jobs.
On many application forms, there is (was) a box to be checked if one were an ex-con.
The question could be asked, but only after an initial evaluation of a person’s qualifications was completed.
Chapman quotes Pat Quinn from 2014:
“This law will help ensure that people across Illinois get a fair shot to reach their full potential through their skills and qualifications, rather than past history.”
Here’s what Jennifer Doleac, an economics professor at Texas A&M who is affiliated with the University of Chicago Crime Lab, discovered:
“Current evidence suggests that Ban the Box may not increase employment for people with criminal records, and might even reduce it. Delaying information about job applicants’ criminal histories leads employers to statistically discriminate against groups that are more likely to have a recent conviction.”
Chapman observes, “In a triumph of perversity, the people who were supposed to gain ended up worse off.”
University of California at Santa Barbara Ph.D. candidate Ryan Sherrard found the same result.
“After such a law is passed, his study found, African American men get fewer job callbacks — and white applicants get more. In places that ban the box, black ex-offenders are likelier to end up back in jail than before.”
Employers assumed the worst about black men, not the best.
Chapman suggests repealing such laws.
“Sometimes the best way to do good is to stop doing harm.”