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

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2014
11 pages
This transcript of a presentation at the Real World Seminar addresses the methodology and findings of a study of the impacts of a prison record, gender, and race on employment in the fields of generalized labor, customer service, and food service.
Applicants with no prior employment or job experience and with a prison record fared the worst in hiring regardless of race or gender. No significant difference was found in employer responses for White applicants of either gender, whether or not they had a prison record. African-Americans, both those who had and had not been to prison, received significantly more unfavorable employer responses than Whites of either gender. Employer responses to Hispanics were similar to their responses to Whites regardless of gender. White females tended to do better in the job market; and White women who had been to prison did somewhat better than White women without a prison record. Based on employer remarks after interviews, they preferred White women on parole because they tended to be more compliant, knowing they needed to perform well in order to meet parole conditions. The study was conducted over a period of 3 years, involved applications for nearly 7,000 jobs in Maricopa County, AZ. Matched pairs applied for the same jobs, followed by researcher interviews with employers about their hiring decisions. Questions and answers are included in the transcript, and there is a link to a video presentation.

Date Published: February 1, 2014