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Beyond the Box FAQs

How can the box be a deterrent for people with criminal records.

Checking the box and writing a 500+ word personal essay on one of the most traumatic events in someone's life can serve as a major barrier to completing a college application. 

Most states found that over 60% of people applying to college that have to check the criminal history box never end up finishing the application. 

Why do we have to ban the box? Why can't we just be more hollistic in our admissions process?

What about people who have committed violent or sex crimes?

It is the criminal legal system's job to punish people, not college or employers or society. Continuing to punish someone after they have already been punished serves no one.

2 out of 3 people with criminal records who are actively applying for college never finish the application. This is for many reasons, but the largest is the invasiveness of the personal statements required for the admissions board. 

In general, someone who has committed a violent or sexual offense is in need of more rehabilitation than someone who has committed, say, a drug or property crime. 

Because people who have committed violent crimes make up the largest portion of the incarcerated population, it is important that we address their rehabilitation alongside those who have committed non-violent crimes. 

Additionally, data shows that people who are being actively "treated," as in, involved in programs and their community, pose a low risk for reoffending.

Will this legislation lead to more crime on college campuses? 

While the research is slim, current data does not indicate that allowing people with criminal histories onto college campuses will make the campus less safe.

Logically, people with criminal histories attending college are in the process of actively bettering themselves and choosing a future where crime is no longer the better option. 

How does this legislation make our communities safer?

Crime is typically the better of few options. Giving sets them up for a better, safer future while also cutting recidivism rates tenfold. Statistics show that Georgia's current recidivism rate hovers at 50%. Meanwhile recidivism rates among those with a Bachelor's degree is steady at 5.6%. 

Currently, incarceration has not been proven to reduce violent crimes. On the same note, it costs twice as much to incarcerate someone as it does to educate someone. 

This makes incarceration both the more costly and the least effective option that does nothing to improve our communities. 

How could going beyond the box affect our economy?

College graduates see 57% more job opportunities than non graduates. They also make, on average, $32K more a year than non graduates. As it stands, the US economy loses almost $2B per year due to barriers in employment for people with criminal records. The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people (FIP) is 27%, 5 times higher than the general population. Universities are only harming society by prohibiting people with criminal records to achieve an education, and, in turn, find meaningful and substantial employment. 

How does the criminal history box, in and of itself, work to discriminate against people with conviction histories?

The stigma that people with criminal histories carry is another form of public shaming–an outdated punishment mechanism from colonial times. 

As if incarceration–loss of autonomy, separation from family, and general trauma–weren't enough, society endows itself with the task of ostracizing people they identify as criminals.

This is through barriers to rehabilitative pathways such as stable housing, meaningful work, and an education. 

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