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Offender employment

The exclusion of individuals with criminal records from employment is examined. People working with soon to be released prisoners or ex-offenders should be aware of this issue. The ability to find gainful employment, one of the critical needs for successful reentry, will be critically impacted by the sometimes unnecessary checking of criminal histories. Six sections are contained in this report: introduction; shutting workers with criminal records out of the job market compromises the economy and public safety; over broad hiring restrictions run afoul of federal laws regulating criminal background checks for employment; wave of lawsuits documents routine civil rights and consumer protection violations; Craigslist survey reveals flagrant abuses by the nation’s largest companies; and recommendations.

65 Million “Need Not Apply”: The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment Cover

“If there’s one thing small business owners know, it’s that nothing creates success like hard work. Anyone who’s willing to work hard should have the chance to earn a living, contribute to our nation’s economy, and provide for themselves and their families. Inequities facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers in the U.S. workplace not only hurt millions of hardworking Americans, but they also take a toll on small business owners, our primary job creators. [This report] provides a first-of-its kind look at the ways inequitable laws impose across-the-board hardships that undermine both the economic security of millions of workers and the ability of businesses to recruit, employ and retain the best and brightest” (p. i). Sections of this publication following an executive summary include: introduction to issues about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) workers in the United States; discrimination without legal protection—bias in recruitment and hiring, on-the-job inequality and unfairness, wage gaps and penalties, lack of legal protections, and recommendations and solutions to address this discrimination; fewer benefits and more taxes—unequal access to health insurance benefits, denial of family and medical leave, denial of spousal retirement benefits, unequal family protections when a worker dies or becomes disabled, inability to sponsor families for immigration, and recommendations and solutions for equalizing pay and benefits; and concluding observations.

A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers Cover

"A record creates a serious barrier to employment for millions of workers, especially in communities of color hardest hit by decades of over-criminalization. Fair-chance hiring policies are intended to help dismantle this employment barrier by ensuring that job applicants with records are assessed on their merits, rather than on negative stereotypes associated with having a record" (p. 1). This publication explains how delaying the inquiry of criminal conviction after providing a conditional job offer is good for the employer. Sections of this document include: introduction; snapshot of key fair-chance hiring best practices; the benefits of delaying conviction inquiries until a conditional job offer—cost-effectiveness for employers, maintaining public safety, minimizing the influence of negative stereotypes in hiring, increasing clarity in decision-making, effective enforcement, and consistent with federal hiring best practices; and conclusion.

A Key Fair-Chance Hiring Best Practice: Delaying Conviction Inquiries Until the Conditional Job Offer cover

A description of the Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) Partnership Training Program is provided. 'This administrative guide provides an overview of the training program, including its benefits and requirements'and information needed to make an informed decision for participating in the training program, including the criteria for selecting a qualified, multidisciplinary team of trainees' (p. 1). The following sections comprise this guide: overview of the training program; introduction; eligibility requirements; training process; and announcements. Appendixes provide participant information, Center for Credentialing and Education certification requirements, program evaluation, and copyright restrictions for OWDS training materials.

Administrative Guide Cover

'“Ban-the-Box” (BTB) policies restrict employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories on job applications and are often presented as a means of reducing unemployment among black men, who disproportionately have criminal records. However, withholding information about criminal records could risk encouraging statistical discrimination: employers may make assumptions about criminality based on the applicant’s race … [This study's] results confirm that criminal records are a major barrier to employment, but they also support the concern that BTB policies encourage statistical discrimination on the basis of race" (p. x).

Ban the Box, Criminal Records, and Statistical Discrimination Cover

'At the same time that the numbers of workers with criminal records have risen, the background check industry has expanded and overall, more employers are now using background checks as an employment screen than ever before. This resource guide documents the cities and counties that have recognized the devastating impact of these trends and taken steps to remove barriers to employment for qualified workers with criminal records, specifically by removing conviction history questions from job applications a reform commonly known as 'ban the box' ' The guide [also] provides key information for local officials and advocates to initiate reforms in their communities, including contact information, media, and campaign material links' (p. 1-2). Municipalities are listed according to city hiring policies and county hiring policies. Additional resources you may find useful, such as reports, presentations, media coverage, campaign materials in video or print formats, and technical assistance, are likewise noted. There is also the 'Summary of Highlights of Local Ban the Box Policies'.

Ban the Box: Major U.S. Cities and Counties Adopt Fair Hiring Policies to Remove Unfair Barriers to Employment of People with Criminal Records Cover

“Hiring new employees is a critically important function in any business, government agency, or non-profit organization. Every hiring decision represents a major investment that employers must make with limited information. Checking criminal history is just a small part of this process, which may also include verifying education, prior employment and other reference information. The Best Practice Standards will help employers properly weigh adverse personal history to find those applicants who will contribute most to the productivity of the organization.” Sections following an executive summary include: best practices: purpose; overview; as part of preparing the job announcement, develop a Relevance Screen for Criminal History; selecting a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)—ensuring reliable information and a clear report format; “Ban the Box”—do not ask applicants to disclose criminal record history in application; the interview; criminal history records check; the final hiring decision; always follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); general human resource policies to create a positive environment; “Best Practice for Individualized Assessment of Rehabilitation; and “20 Best Practice Standards: On the Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions”.

Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring Cover

The Community Services Division coordinates technical assistance, specialized training, and other programs related to probation, parole, and other forms of community-based corrections.

The Division also sponsors the development of publications and materials on topics of interest to community corrections practitioners, and it coordinates an interdisciplinary effort to assist jurisdictions in developing a more rational, cost-effective, and coordinated system of criminal justice sanctions and punishments.

Technical assistance related to Community Corrections is provided on issues such as caseload management, victims programs, employee safety, classification and assessment, and intermediate sanctions. The Division also provides specialized training and other programs that focus on: Executive Leadership and Development; Women Offenders; Evidence-Based Offender Interventions; Inmate Transition to Communities; Workforce Development; and Responding to Probation/Parole Violations.

Division Chief: Holly Busby

This report summarizes the first national review of the recidivism and post-release effects of the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) engaging state prison inmates in private sector jobs since 1979" (p. 6). Sections following an executive summary are: abstract; introduction; methods; key findings and discussion regarding how PIECP participation increases post-release employment and reduces recidivism; and policy recommendations.

Correctional Industries Preparing Inmates for Re-Entry: Recidivism & Post-Release Cover

This report provides a very good look at how criminal records, race, and gender impact chances for employment. Sections following an executive summary cover: prisoner reentry and employment; race and the criminal justice system; stereotyping racial minorities and the unemployed; crime and employment; finding work in an era of mass incarceration; women, criminal records, and finding employment after prison; focus and research methods using an on-line job application, in-person application, and an employer survey; results according to females, male, and employers; and critical policy considerations regarding the role of the internet in applying for a job, the job interview, job training, and preparation for work, and expanding social capital for former inmates. "Consistent with prior research, we find differences by race/ethnicity, with blacks and Hispanics generally faring more poorly than whites. The differences for the online application process were not as large as for the in person process, but, nonetheless, we did find 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 during reentry. The employer survey revealed strong effects for criminal justice involvement, with employers expressing preferences for hiring individuals with no prior criminal justice contact" (p. 1-2).

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


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