Criminal Stigma, Race, Gender and Employment
Date:  06-13-2014

Survey of employers exposes negative stereotypes of applicants with a criminal conviction
The National Institute of Justice released the following new report:

Criminal Stigma, Race, Gender and Employment: An Expanded Assessment of the Consequences of Imprisonment for Employment (pdf, 112 pages)

Authors: Scott H. Decker, Ph.D., Cassia Spohn, Ph.D., Natalie R. Ortiz, M.S., and Eric Hedberg, Ph.D.

Individuals who leave prison, find work, and remain employed are less likely to become involved in crime than those who do not find employment. This study sought a broader understanding of how race and ethnicity interact with a prior criminal record to affect an individual’s employment prospects. The authors examined whether having a criminal record affects hiring decisions, whether the applicant’s race or ethnicity influences hiring decisions, and whether the effect of a criminal record varies depending on the applicant’s race or ethnicity. The authors found differences by race and ethnicity, with blacks and Hispanics generally faring more poorly than whites. They also found that a prison record has a dampening effect on job prospects, particularly in the low-skill food service sector, where ex-prisoners are likely to seek employment. The employer survey revealed that employers associate prison time with a number of negative work-related characteristics and that they prefer to hire individuals with no criminal justice contact. Read more.