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March 26, 2017

"Recognizing Redemption: Old Criminal Records and Employment Outcomes"

The title of this post is the title of this new essay authored by Peter Leasure and Tia Stevens Andersen available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Upon completion of their sentences and when attempting to ‘reenter’ society, offenders face large barriers, often referred to as the ‘collateral consequences’ of conviction.  One of the largest barriers, given the stigma of a criminal record, is finding employment.  The problem primarily arises because of increases in the use of background checks by employers and the use of a criminal record to eliminate candidates.  Such a practice is partly understandable for employers, as a recent conviction is one of the best predictors of future criminal activity.

However, recent evidence suggests that an offender’s risk of reoffending decreases over time and can eventually come “close enough” to that of one who has never offended, even becoming lower than that risk for a random person within the general population.  However, no study has examined whether such knowledge has reached potential employers.  Our study sought to determine whether knowledge such as this has reached potential employers and asked whether there are employment outcome differences for hypothetical applicants with older criminal records.  Results indicate that those possessing older criminal records still face barriers when seeking employment.  Based on these findings, we present policy considerations.

March 26, 2017 at 11:48 AM | Permalink


You also need to control the out of control tort bar. Once the criminal record is known, it is not negligent hiring that will be claim, but an intentional malfeasance with malice, subject to exemplary damages. Those claims must be prohibited by law if anyone wants to improve employment by ex-offenders.

As a compromise, the tort bar should be prohibited from any claim for a job problem not related to the offense in the record. The problem is that there are no specialists in crime. The pedophile barred from daycare, may also be a thief if hired to be a cashier.

I would like to see a study of people on probation or on parole. Given their level of supervision and the frequency of drug testing, given the immediate threat of imprisonment without due process for any violation, they may represent the lowest risk of all.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 26, 2017 1:43:42 PM

This is already one across Europe. Let's take the UK for example cause its English, its common law and its easy enough to research: the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (and the Data Protection Act) prohibits employers from asking, searching or relying on what they call "spent" convictions. A conviction becomes spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act parlance if the sentence was less than 4 years and a set number of years have passed since. Once a conviction becomes spent, it is unlawful (in fact criminal) for an employer to request, obtain or compel disclosure of such information; refuse to hire based on a spent conviction; and even gives rise to a claim for defamation where a "spent" conviction is published by the media. This completely neutralizes the tort bar who like to sue for every thing x 2 + exemplary damages.

The only downside about the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (UK) is that it is focused primarily non-licensed professions; licensed professions are excluded. So, in essence, most convicts can get a low-level paying job without an issue even with a criminal conviction, but they are stuck and unable to move up the ladder or into other fields. Some other European countries, permanently wipe the record clean. And, guess what? They dont have massive spikes in recidivism etc. or endanger public safety. Its a pity that there is no federal expungement provision in every state.

Side note: in the UK about 25% of the population has a criminal record. In the US, I believe about 78 million people have some type of record.

Posted by: There is a Way | Mar 26, 2017 7:13:41 PM

If the "Government" can say that after seven years you can be considered dead, why can't a nonviolent "criminal" be considered reformed when no other crime has been committed?

Posted by: LC in Texas | Mar 27, 2017 10:53:39 AM

LC. Why?

1) Few crimes are reported, few are investigated, few are prosecuted, few result in sentencing, so each sentence is standing in for 100's of crimes;

2) people slow down but do not change, and there is no specialization in crime, so a shoplifter should be executed because he is really a mass murdering, drug kingpin;

3) the tort bar will pounce on any employer for unrelated damage, such as a company vehicle crash.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 27, 2017 1:05:38 PM

David, by that measure we are all criminals. The average person commits 3 felonies a day. And even if you don't accept that, then your own post reveals that you agree that hundreds or perhaps thousands of criminals avoid prosecution every year. So, the safest society is if we make sure no one has a job, every one is locked up, a few morally-tested individuals roam the streets and we might have great Bureau of Justice Statistics that show near 0% crime. Or better yet we can devise a Minority Report type of system to pre-emptively incarcerate people and root out crime before it happens?

Or, you can accept that a non-punitive approach is feasible, it has been tried and successfully been implemented in many European countries and the US wastes endless $$$ on excessive incarceration with no proven EXTRA benefit to the offenders, the victims or the community. An unemployed, disenfranchised and ostracized ex-offender is many times more likely to re-offend than someone who has successfully been re-integrated through operation of law into the community.

Posted by: Farenheit451 | Mar 27, 2017 5:15:47 PM

F451. I really appreciate it when people do not hurl personal insults at me, nor death threats. Substantive remarks mean, you want to fight, and not just totally surrender in the traverse. The hurlers of these personal remarks are to be pitied. The personal insults make the person look really stupid, frustrated, and in fear for the rent. Why would a person want to kill someone they have never met? Why? Because the person is proposing they lose their job by protecting crime victims. They are prepared to kill strangers for the few measly dollars in their pay. Vicious people here.

We all commit 3 regulatory felonies a day. These are compounded by conspiracy and RICO charges by any communication with another. They are compounded by wire fraud by the use of any device. So, yes today, your acts could get you 100 years in federal prison. Only prosecutorial discretion to not prosecute you keeps you on the street.

Here is a problem. These crimes are fictitious, regulatory quackery. These crimes are copying the methods of the Inquisition, a violation of the Establishment Clause. You will be tried in an adversarial setting, originating in the disputation method of church based Scholasticism. You will be offered a plea deal to seize your assets in exchange for not harming you physically, another method from the church based Inquisition. These pleas will enrich powerful lawyer interests, in one of the greatest financial fraud scheme in history, lawyer rent seeking.

Because of the vicious attacks sent to Prof. Berman, I will be answering one point a day. I just do not want him to be distracted by the vicious complaints by the vicious people reading this blog, in protection of their vicious rent seeking. Nasty and vicious.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 27, 2017 9:18:29 PM

F451. There is one factor shared by all low crime jurisdictions. It is not religion, wealth, lead levels, religiosity, not even low bastardy rates. I am not sure about small number of lawyers. That factor is mysteriously left out of all studies on crime, although it is a self evident factor in the crime rate.

It is public self help. The criminals fear the neighbors than the police. The public replaces the worthless government. In our country, the lawyer profession seeks to crush all self help. 9/11 was 100% the fault of the lawyer profession. It would have been impossible on the airlines of other nations. The passengers would have attacked the hijackers. The lawyer profession protects, privileges, and empowers criminals to generate lawyer jobs.

If we are going to end just about all crimes, we must first crush the lawyer profession. It just will never allow a low crime rate.

Your rehabilitation fantasy is absolute quackery in rent seeking. It does not even make sense. Upon leaving prison, you can make $10 an hour, taxed, versus $100 an hour, tax free, plus all the sex with crack whores your body can handle. You decide. In what fantasy world is the criminal unemployed, ostracized, not integrated? The criminal is extremely busy, chased after by customers, and cannot leave organized crime even if he begs.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 28, 2017 3:47:27 AM

David, I re-read my post and I cannot see how I personally attacked you.

As for blaming lawyers, the UK is home to some of the world's largest law firms. Until recently, it provided a lawyer to everyone even for civil cases. Yet, the crime rate is not as high in the UK as it is in the US for many crimes (and the UK criminalizes a lot of things).

And, as for the rest of Europe, criminals don't fear their neighbours. They fear the police. But they know there is a definite end date to all punishment.

The culture of punitiveness is simply different in Europe because the cost-benefit analysis is simply not served by increasingly punitive punishments like 20,30,40, or 100 year sentences. And the voting populace is just fine with it.

And rehabilitation is not a fantasy. Its worked for over 43 years in the UK now and for over 30 years in countries like Germany, France, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.

Posted by: Farenheit451 | Mar 29, 2017 11:59:34 AM

F451. I did thank you for not attacking me personally, and for making a substantive remark. Europe has a higher rate of crime than the USA. They lie about their stats.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 30, 2017 12:43:41 PM

Go to Germany as a tourist. You get told what you are doing wrong everywhere you go. The neighbors run the tightest ship of all.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 30, 2017 1:54:09 PM

I renounced my American citizenship in 2008. I received British citizenship in 2013 and I now live in Germany. I only come to the US as necessary. Europe does not have a higher rate of crime. Europe is fine.

I find your remarks to be tending towards conspiratorial. Stats are lies etc. German neighbors don't have guns. They may run a tight ship, but they don't take the law into their own hands and, for example, shoot their neighbors. We are not even allowed to carry guns in Germany (or most European countries).

Posted by: Farenheit451 | Mar 30, 2017 9:17:31 PM

F451. In Europe, matching for skill, people make half the salary as they do. Look at the offers in the want ads. Then their prices are twice as high, for the very same item on Amazon in a European location. Compare the same music CD. I went into an expensive restaurant in France. The meal cost $200. I went to the bathroom. They had a hole in the ground, like back in 1900 in the USA.

You Europeans live like animals, and take it without complaint.

Talk to some girls. Many have been raped at knife point, rape rape. They go to the police station. They fill out a report. The police rips it in her face and throws it in the trash. That is how they have low crime rates. In the harder to hide crime of murder, Swedes have a 20% higher chance of being murdered than American whites. Before they were invaded by ultra-violent, military age Arab immigrants, they were beset by skin head gangs, organized crime, and drug addiction. You are kidding yourself.

The Euro Commie paradise is a lying propaganda fantasy. Those cover ups are a feature of all left wing governments, because they are promoting a failed ideology.

As to England, stay safe. It is safer in the ghetto here, than over there.

Check this out. This is probably lying government cover up, but England is ultra violent, even according to left wing cover up statistics. You should stop kidding yourself.

The murder rate is suppressed by advances in trauma care learned in recent wars. Such techniques have likely saved 10 times as many people as died in combat. War saves lives. Did you know that? The Golden Hour emergency services mentality from the Vietnam War probably saved a million American lives over the past 50 years.

Horrible statistics from the lying, covering up British Commie government:

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 31, 2017 1:07:56 AM

The "whole in the ground" is for some middle eastern customers because they use that bathroom and its their preference. Each man/woman may relieve themselves as they see fit (I have also seen that in some American establishments).

$200 for French food. That's your choice of cafe. There are plenty of others that are cheaper and still offer fantastic cuisine.

Some items are more expensive in Europe because of the lack of a free trade agreement between the EU and that country and carry customs duties. For instance, Mercedes and BMW are MUCH cheaper in Europe than they are in the US. Can you guess why? No customs duty. But in the US, its in the price.

Girls raped at knife point? England, a ghetto?

David Behar, are you Donald Trump and have you confused Sentencing typepad for twitter?

There is a difference in not attacking you and pointing out that your facts are not facts at all.

Posted by: Farenheit451 | Apr 3, 2017 9:24:21 PM

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