Cummings Lauds President’s Efforts to Help Formerly Incarcerated Re-Enter Society

Nov 2, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 2, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement applauding President Obama’s announcement of measures to help formerly incarcerated individuals re-enter society, including directing the Office of Personnel Management to ask questions about applicants’ criminal histories until later in the hiring process:

“I applaud President Obama for taking steps to help level the playing field for formerly incarcerated individuals, and I believe that efforts like these and our work on the Fair Chance Act can move forward together.  Americans who have done their time deserve an opportunity to turn their lives around and contribute to society in a meaningful way.  We have an opportunity to build on years of hard work at the state and local level across the country to ban the box, and I urge my colleagues to join this bipartisan movement to reduce recidivism, break generational cycles of crime, and make our communities safer.”

In September, Cummings led the House introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral Fair Chance Act, which would require the federal government and its contractors to wait to ask about the criminal histories of job applicants until they receive conditional offers of employment.  Cummings introduced the bill with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced the Senate version.  The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the bill unanimously last month.

In May, Cummings and more than 70 Members of the House sent a letter to President Obama urging him to adopt “ban the box” hiring policies in the federal government.  

Due in part to significant grassroots efforts across the country, states and cities have been implementing Ban the Box polices to help people with criminal records overcome barriers to employment of having to “check the box” on job applications.  Nineteen states and more than 100 cities and counties have taken action, and companies such as Walmart, Koch Industries, Target, Home Depot, Starbucks, and Bed, Bath & Beyond have also embraced Ban the Box policies.

114th Congress