Feb 4, 2010

New Perspectives on Employment for Ex-offenders

In thinking about strategies to remove the barriers to employment for ex-offenders, I've come across a set of interesting and potentially useful documents that may inform (or just make us think about!) all of our reform efforts.

1) The National Institute of Justice's study, "'Redemption' in an Era of Widespread Criminal Background Checks."

This paper outlines a study conducted by the research and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. It seeks to offer the first "scientific" method for determining at what point the risk of rearrest for ex-offenders "[d]rop[s] below the risk of arrest for same-aged people in the general population" and when the risk "approach[s] the risk of arrest for people who have never been arrested."

In several states, business communities are leading efforts to reform state policies that overspend on corrections. In this set of interviews, business leaders describe why and how they are looking into more cost effective and efficient ways to protect the public safety.

3) New York Times Opinion Piece, Denied a Chance for Honest Work, January 18, 2010

NY's Attorney General investigates illegal employment discrimination against ex-offenders.

4)From Princeton University, "Race at Work: Realities of Race and Criminal Record in the NYC Job Market"

This study finds that "in contrast to public opinion that assumes little influence of discrimination on labor market inequality. . ., black job seekers fare no better than white men just released from prison. Discrimination continues to represent a major barrier to economic self-sufficiency for those at the low end of the labor market hierarchy."