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Systemic Barriers to Higher Education: How Colleges Respond to Applicants with Criminal Records in Maryland (2013)

  • Organization: John Jay College of Criminal Justice—City University of New York; Duke University
  • Document Type: Brief/Motion Papers
  • Date Created: Monday, September 16, 2013
  • Submitted: Monday, September 16, 2013
  • Attachment(s): PDF

Research consistently shows that higher education is a key resource in lowering recidivism rates and
increasing life opportunities for previously incarcerated individuals. Yet, there has been a trend for
colleges to inquire about criminal background during the admissions process. The goal of this
report is to explore how Maryland colleges seek information about criminal backgrounds of
applicants and how they use this information in their decision making process. The study used two
methods of data collection: a review of the online applications of all Maryland colleges and a
questionnaire distributed to all colleges. Further, the findings from this study are compared with
those of the only national study available at this time. The findings in this report are limited but they
provide important insight to how Maryland colleges react to applicants with criminal backgrounds
and set the context for a number of policy and practice recommendations.

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