Louisiana Act 276
Banning the Box on College Applications
Act 276 was written by Operation Restoration with community partners and aims to end the discrimination faced by people with a criminal history when applying to institutions of higher education. It will ban questions about criminal history on an initial application to access higher education. It is being sponsored by Representatives Pierre and Edwards and on June 16, 2017 was signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards, making Louisiana the first state to ban the box on college applications.
Why is this law so important?
- 70 million Americans have a criminal history (1 in 3 adults).
- 2 out of 3 people that start a college application and select yes to the question regarding criminal history do not finish the application.
- Runyan et. al. (2013) found that neither criminal background checks nor pre-admission screening questions accurately predict whether students are likely to commit a crime on college campuses.
- There has been no established link between having a criminal record and posing a risk to campus safety (Study: Olszewska 2007).
- Educational programming reduces recidivism by 40% and provides opportunities for employment and positive support that decreases the likelihood of future crimes (Davis et. al. 2013).
- Completion of education-i.e. obtaining a bachelor's degree, has been correlated with a less than 10% recidivism rate.