Elections

Clinton wants to bar the government from asking about criminal history

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to customers at the White Mountain Cafe & Bookstore, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Gorham, N.H.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to customers at the White Mountain Cafe & Bookstore, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Gorham, N.H. AP

Hillary Clinton said Friday that she would ban the federal government and its contractors from asking about a job applicant’s criminal histories.

Clinton’s executive action would apply only to the initial application phase and mandates that agencies that complete background checks do so only later in the process.

The policy, known as “banning the box,” a reference to the box on job applications that asks for applicants’ criminal histories.

Nineteen states, including California and Georgia, have passed “ban the box” laws, according to the National Employment Law Project. Several of the country’s largest employers have already barred the practice, including Target, Walmart and Starbucks.

Clinton made the announcement at a rally in Atlanta, where she spoke about ongoing plans to reform the criminal justice system, which also includes eliminating the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine, ending racial profiling by law enforcement. Her event was initially interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters. “Yes, they do,” Clinton told them and said she wanted to talk if her “friends” would let her.

Clinton previously called stopping mass incarceration and ensuring every police department in the United States has body cameras. It’s part of a three-pronged agenda that includes policing, incarceration and reentry into society.

Her chief rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, issued a statement that Clinton is correct about sentencing disparities but said any serious criminal justice reform must include removing marijuana from the controlled substances act and eliminating the death penalty.

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