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Criminal Stigma, Race, Gender and Employment: An Expanded Assessment of the Consequences of Imprisonment for Employment

NCJ Number
Date Published
112 pages
This 3-year study of the impact of a prison record on gaining employment after release involved two separate experiments and an employer survey.
The study found that having a prison record has a dampening effect on job prospects for ex-inmates, particularly in the low-skill food service sector, which is a field where ex-prisoners are likely to seek employment during reentry. Consistent with prior research, the study found differences by race/ethnicity, with Blacks and Hispanics generally faring worse than Whites in gaining employment. Racial/ethnic differences were not as large for those seeking employment online compared with those applying in person. The employer survey found strong effects for criminal justice involvement, with employers expressing preferences for hiring individuals with no prior criminal justice contact. Employers associated prior prison time with a number of negative work-related characteristics, including tardiness and inability to get along with co-workers. This report recommends a number of policies regarding the job preparation application and interview process. Highlighted is the importance of preparing individuals in prison for the online world of job applications and resume creation. Other recommendations pertain to job preparation, application, and the interview process. One component of this study involved the submission of more than 6,000 online applications for entry-level jobs. The second component sent individuals (auditors) to apply for 60 jobs in-person. The third study component was a survey conducted among 49 employers, all of whom were included in the second component. Each of the first two experiments involved six different pairs of job applicants that consisted of Black men, Black women, Hispanic men, Hispanic women, White men, and White women. One member of each pair had a prison record included on their resume. In every other respect, the resumes were identical. 12 tables

Date Published: January 1, 2014