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Consequences of a Prison Record for Employment: How Do Race & Gender Factor In?

Event Dates
All times are Eastern Time unless noted otherwise.
Event Duration
71 minutes

Scientific studies have long documented the negative impact of a prison record on a person's ability to find employment. But what happens when gender and race/ethnicity are factored in? And what is the impact when the current reality of online job-applying is also factored in?

Dr. Scott Decker and his colleagues have recently completed an in-depth examination of the roles of race, gender, and education in one of the greatest social challenges facing our nation today: employment for criminal offenders returning to the community. The study consisted of six pairs of job applicants: Black men, Black women, Hispanic men, Hispanic women, White men and White women; the résumé of one person in each pair showed a prison record; in every other respect, their résumés were identical. Using an "audit" method, the researchers studied what happened when the participants applied in-person for more than 500 jobs with 60 different employers in Arizona. Using a "correspondence" method, they studied what happened when the participants applied online for more than 6,100 jobs. Finally, the researchers interviewed 48 employers from the audit portion of the study.

The findings — including the impact of having some post-high school education — may surprise you. Based on the results of this three-year study, Dr. Decker makes recommendations that could be critically important as decision-makers craft policies and strategies to help criminal offenders obtain employment, particularly in this increasingly online world. ​

Event Type
Event Option(s)
Online, On demand
National Institute of Justice
Scott Decker, Ph.D.
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University
Registration Status
Not Required
Free and open to all.​
Date Created: January 16, 2014