Although a new Philadelphia law went into effect earlier this month that makes the hiring process less discriminatory for former convicts, its most prominent supporter is still seeking a full-time job and said the bill doesn’t do enough for those trying to smoothly fit back into society.
Mic Tabon, a former convict who was incarcerated for seven years for attempted homicide, initially hailed the ‘Ban the Box’ bill as a progressive step and “needed for change,” he said. But since he started to promote the bill, little has changed for his own employment.
Tabon held a rally last year with other former convicts in support of the bill, marching down North Broad Street from his Rest-In-Peace Wall on the 1900 block of West Hunting Park Avenue to City Hall. The wall honors every victim who was murdered in Philadelphia during 2006.
Former 8th District Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller introduced the bill more than a year ago, pushing it inside City Hall, he said. Meanwhile, she sought Tabon as a key player to promote it on the streets.
“The councilwoman had the bark, meaning the voice,” Tabon said. “But from the street perspective she didn’t have the bite, the teeth.”
‘Ban the Box’ restricts employers in the city from adding a criminal history checkbox on applications. The bill also prohibits employers from asking about the status of former convicts during the first interview.“I believe you have a chance to make a first impression,” Tabon said.
Still, he said more could be done for former convicts to become more productive members of society, like more job training programs, adequate supportive housing and a stronger curriculum that educates the city’s youth that “jail is for suckers,” he said. Despite Tabon’s distinguished involvement in promoting the bill, he said he’s appeared at multiple interviews for potential jobs but is currently seeking full-time employment.