Today the Education from the Inside Out Coalition launched the video diaries project as part of a campaign to ban the box in higher education. The ten-week series is a fictional dramatization of the real life challenges individuals with criminal convictions face when applying to colleges and universities. Through the project, viewers will witness the struggles and triumphs of three individuals Chrissy, Ben and Alex; three characters from different backgrounds whose lives have been impacted by the criminal justice system.
The individuals featured in the videos have all had to check the ‘box’. The ‘box’ refers to a question on college applications that asks applicants to self-disclose their criminal history. Although the over 500 schools that utilize the Common Application use the ‘box’ as admissions criteria, there is no standardized assessment process of applicants with criminal records, leaving their admission possibility entirely up to the schools’ discretion.
While access to higher education has proven to reduce recidivism and transform lives economically and socially, individuals that have been incarcerated, or have a criminal record of any kind, face incredible barriers to higher education because of the ‘box’. This video series shares personal stories as a way “to raise awareness and challenge this discriminatory practice that allows for educational institutions to judge an individual by their mistakes and not their merit.”
Watch the first week’s video here and be sure to tune in for new videos over the next ten weeks.