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How Likely Are Ex-Offenders To Get a Job Offer?

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 76 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2014 Pages: 15-19
Date Published
June 2014
4 pages
Studies in three U.S. cities - Milwaukee (2001), New York City (2004) and Phoenix (2012) - used trained "auditors" to determine whether employers made hiring decisions based on applicants' race or criminal history, given similar job skills across the two variables of interest.

The findings were similar in the three cities, i.e., that in their hiring decisions, employers discriminated against applicants with criminal histories and those of color, particularly Black men. In Phoenix, Hispanic men, regardless of criminal background, did not receive any callbacks from employers. In Milwaukee, two teams of college-educated males (one team with two Black males and one team with two White males) were formed to be as physically identical as possible (attractiveness, height, and weight). These "actors" were trained to apply for entry-level positions under audit study conditions. Within each racial pair, the testers were randomly assigned to pose as ex-offenders and were provided fictitious work histories. A "callback" for an interview or a job offer was the outcome measured. A total of 350 in-person job applications were completed by the auditors. A similar study in New York City involved auditors for 250 low-wage positions. In Phoenix, the two auditing teams each had three individuals (Hispanic, Black, and White). A total of 266 job applications were submitted in this study. This report also reviews some of the policy changes made at Federal, State, county, and city levels as a result of these study findings. Suggestions for future research in this area are offered. 2 tables and 12 notes

Date Published: June 1, 2014