ACLU implores the governor to sign SB 1318 into law
February 21, 2020

The ACLU of Idaho commends the the Senate for passing the Fair Chance Employment Policy 21-13-1, showing that a strong bipartisan coalition of Idaho lawmakers is ready to finally address the flaws in its criminal justice system head-on.

If passed, Senate Bill 1318 would allow formerly incarcerated people to have a more fair chance at gainful employment by allowing them to present their skills and expertise before being questioned about their criminal record.

“We are encouraged and proud of Idaho senators for taking this important step in the right direction,” said Kathy Griesmyer, policy director at ACLU of Idaho. “Thankfully, the majority of our senators listened to the data and the stories of those affected, and acted in favor of a fresh start for those who have paid their debt to society.”

The ACLU of Idaho partnered with Smart Justice for Idaho to conduct in-depth research focused on examining the alarmingly widening incarceration rates in Idaho and looking for pragmatic solutions. The results don’t lie. Idaho only stands to benefit from allowing employers to first determine whether an applicant is qualified for the job before inquiring about their previous criminal history. Of the more than 9,000 people imprisoned in Idaho an estimated 95 percent will re-enter our communities upon completion of their time served. 

When formerly incarcerated people find jobs, they are less likely to return to jail or prison, they can provide for their families, and they contribute to Idaho’s economy in a tight labor market. Several businesses in Idaho already “ban the box,” with successful results, including Simplot, Hayden Beverages Inc. and Ace Industrial. Many Fortune 500 companies also employ fair chance hiring principles.