Ban the Box Bill Advances — Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Approves ‘Opportunity to Compete’ Act

Trenton, NJ: On Thursday, June 5, 2014, the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved NJ Assembly Bill A-1999, the “Opportunity to Compete Act” bill, otherwise known as the “Ban the Box” bill. Introduced and co-sponsored by state Sens. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City), Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), the bill would prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s past arrest history or criminal record until later in the job application process. (see Prior Post for more information on this bill). Continue reading here…

NJ Ban-The-Box Bill Would Ban Job Application Checkbox about prior arrests/convictions – Sign Petition

On Thursday, April 24th, at a New Jersey Faith Leaders Press Conference at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, in Somerset, NJ,  Senator Sandra Cunningham described the key provisions of NJ Assembly Bill A1999, the “Ban the box” bill, which she co-sponsored. She explained bill would ban employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s prior arrest or conviction history until after the employer decides to make an offer of conditional employment to the prospective employer. The bill would not ban consideration on an ex-offender’s criminal history, but does move the inquiry to later in the job seeking process, giving the applicant a chance to present him/herself, accomplishments, skills, and appropriateness for the job before having to answer for what might be decades old criminal history records. Many employers don’t even bother further reviewing job applicants or calling them in for an interview, if they see the individual has a criminal history (even without knowing the nature of that history or how distant it might be). 

Moreover, the bill requires that if an employer retracts an offer of conditional employment upon learning of the applicant’s criminal history, the employer must justify the retraction by identifying how the criminal history would negative impact on the applicant’s ability to do the job or poses an identifiable risk to the employer. The bill automatically exempts employers from this burden in cases where the applicant is barred from the type of job offered by law or other legal restriction (e.g., by parole). Continue reading here…

Governor Christie Signs Law Forcing all Tier I and Tier II Ex-offenders Sentenced to ADTC onto Internet Registry

On January 14, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed into law S276 which, among other requirements, stipulates that any one with a sex offense conviction whose behavior was found to be compulsive and repetitive at the time of sentencing (most of whom were sentenced to the Adult Diagnostic & Treatment Center [ADTC]  must have their name and address and other information about their offenses, published on the State’s Internet Registry.

The bill makes no exception for those assigned to Tier I, the tier associated with those who have the lowest risk of reoffense. Nor does the bill provide an exception for individuals whose crimes involved incest, placing at risk, the identities of victims. Continue reading here…

Reclaiming Our Humanity

by James Krivacska, Psy.D.
(reprinted from Reflections from the Jetty: Using Reason to Reform Your Life, available as Kindle Book).

What can we do to reclaim the humanity we have lost? This may well be the first challenge of the man or woman just returning to society from jail or prison. Prisons serve many functions, but perhaps one task in which “correctional facilities” excel, is the dehumanization of the men and women placed in their charge. From the assignment of inmate numbers (and in some institutions, the means by which you are identified), to the humiliating strip and cavity searches, to the demeaning and degrading manner in which inmates are treated and often abused, jailers have become masters of dehumanization. Indeed, it is only by the act of dehumanization that the same people who shake their head in disgust at brutal treatment inflicted on an oppressed people by third world dictators, who pride themselves on the core American values they taut to their friends and family, can engage in the kind of abuse that was inflicted on detainees in Abu Garib. Continue reading here…

We Are Not Our Labels

by James Krivacska, Psy.D.
(reprinted from Reflections from the Jetty: Using Reason to Reform Your Life, available as Kindle Book).

You’re not going to find a lot of pictures of me without a shirt in my childhood photo albums. Even snapshots of me at the beach in Manasquan, unless they’re of me wading in the surf, are likely to show me in at least a T-shirt. Now partly, this is because I was cursed with incredibility pale, fair skin. I was incapable of tanning as a kid, my “pigmentally challenged” condition leaving me a token albino amidst a sea of golden pucks and pixies down at the beach. I’d spend a half an hour in the sun, turn red with sunburn, peel a couple of days later, and revert back to my pale self within a week. We didn’t have sf 70 back in the 60s, and even liberal and frequent applications of Coppertone weren’t enough to ensure that, after spending a day at the beach, I didn’t emerge like a lobster fresh out of the steamer. Continue reading here…