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Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

Ex-Offenders Need Not Apply: The Criminal Background Check in Hiring Decisions

  • Organization: N/A
  • Document Type: Report
  • Date Created: Tuesday, February 15, 2005
  • Submitted: Monday, April 23, 2007
  • Attachment(s): PDF
Many legal barriers exist that prevent ex-offenders from obtaining lawful employment, a principle means for reintegration. This article explores the scope and utility of these laws, which aim ostensibly to reduce the prospective employee's likelihood of engaging in workplace crime. Irrelevance of the provisions to the effective assessment of job applicants' risks of offending, shortcomings of criminal background checks, lack of empirical evidence linking ex-offenders to workplace crime, and the availability of viable alternatives underscore the need to scale back these significant obstacles to ex offender reentry. The article concludes with recommendations for reasonable uses of risk assessment in employment screening laws.

By Patricia M. Harris and Kimberly S. Keller, University of Texas at San Antonio

Published in Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Vol. 21 No. 1, February 2005 6-30

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