Ban the Box in Higher Education: Lessons From Louisiana on Changing Laws and Leading Movements

Published date01 May 2021
Date01 May 2021
Subject MatterEssay
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2021, Vol. 37(2) 293 –301
© The Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1043986221999883
Ban the Box in Higher
Education: Lessons From
Louisiana on Changing Laws
and Leading Movements
Annie Phoenix1 and Syrita Steib2
In 2017, Louisiana became the first state to pass legislation to remove criminal history
questions from college applications, commonly known as ban the box in higher
education. This victory hinged on the work of two advocates, Syrita Steib, Founder
and Executive Director of Operation Restoration, and Annie Phoenix, PhD student
at Tulane University and Co-founder of Operation Restoration. The following article
is a reflection on the process to pass ban the box in higher education in Louisiana and
lessons learned to support others to engage in criminal legal system reform. We hope
that this article serves as inspiration for other women impacted by incarceration,
and nonimpacted supporters to use their voices to fight for liberation and to end
the collateral consequences that prevent people with convictions from accessing
education and other opportunities.
formerly incarcerated leaders, women, policy change, ban the box, criminal
convictions, college access
For this article, we will focus on our policy work and particularly the efforts in 2017
to pass Louisiana Act 276: “Ban the Box” in Higher Education, making Louisiana the
first state to legally prevent colleges from asking about criminal history in college
admissions. We hope to capture the experience of writing and passing this bill and to
1Operation Restoration, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA
2Operation Restoration, Louisiana State University Health and Science Center, New Orleans, LA, USA
Corresponding Author:
Annie Phoenix, Tulane University, Operation Restoration, 1450 Poydras Street Suite 2260,
New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
999883CCJXXX10.1177/1043986221999883Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticePhoenix and Steib

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