The Smart Justice Campaign just had a win! On August 4th, Spokane Mayor David Condon publicly asked the Civil Service to remove the box asking about criminal convictions from city employment applications, and that his administration will make changes to the process for conducting criminal background checks. This announcement comes after Council President Ben Stuckart and Spokane City Council Member Jon Snyder led on this issue by sending a letter to the City’s Civil Service Chief Examiner requesting that they ban the box.

Spokesman-Review wrote a great editorial in support making the connection that reducing barriers to employment for people with criminal records part of implementing smart justice.

This announcement is an important first step in creating fairer opportunities for people with criminal convictions to find employment and move forward. Our thanks and appreciation to Council Member Jon Snyder, Council President Ben Stuckart, and Mayor David Condon.

The next step is for the city to adopt the policies that will govern when a background check takes place and how that information is used in the hiring process. These policies are crucial in creating a fair opportunity. Julie Schaffer, attorney with The Center for Justice and member of the Smart Justice Campaign Executive Committee, is asking the City Council and Mayor to create a stakeholders group to help develop those policies, and she is making the request that people most impacted by these policies be included.

In the long term, we will be working to build broad support amongst Spokane businesses to ban the box. We have a Ban the Box working group, coordinated by Julie Schaffer, working on this effort. Please contact her at [email protected] to get involved.