Gov. Jeff Colyer signed an executive order Wednesday supporting the "Ban the Box" initiative.
The new order requires state agencies to remove a checkbox from their job applications that asks whether someone has a criminal record.
Colyer says the goal of the order is to help formerly incarcerated people find work.
He says the state's overall recidivism rate is nearly 36 percent — with the rate dropping almost in half among those employed.
"We can clearly see that, given the time and opportunity, those offenders who have jobs lead better lives and become a full member of our community," Colyer says.
Durell Gilmore, an activist with Wichita's Sunflower Community Action, says the decision removes an employment barrier.
"It fulfills that social contract that once I've paid my debt to society, I can return to society and build a life for myself and my family," Gilmore says.
The executive order will still allow state agencies to ask applicants about their criminal history during an interview.
Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.
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