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16 Criminology & Pub. Pol'y 177 (2017)
Increasing Employment of People with Records

handle is hein.journals/crpp16 and id is 179 raw text is: 

                        POLICY ESSAY


Increasing Employment of People with


Policy   Challenges in the Era of Ban the Box

Amanda  Agan
Rutgers  University

Each week approximately 10,000 offenders are released   from state and federal pris-

        ons (U.S. Department of Justice [USDOJ], 2016). The first major obstacle many
        of these returning offenders face when trying to secure employment is the ques-
tion about their criminal history that often appears on job applications. Answering this
question affirmatively significantly affects an applicant's ability to get an interview with
these employers: In a recent audit study, applicants without felony convictions were 63%
more likely to receive a callback than were those with records (Agan and Starr, 2016; see
also Pager, 2003), and a smaller but still non-negligible gap exists even for applicants with
misdemeanor convictions (Uggen, Vuolo, Lageson, Ruhland, and Whitham, 2014).
    As a result, many states and cities have passed so-called Ban the Box (BTB) laws
that prevent employers from asking about criminal history on applications and legislate
when in the hiring process a background check can be performed. Although most of these
policies pertain to public employment, recently several states and cities have expanded
these restrictions to private employers as well (Rodriguez and Avery, 2016). The idea is to
remove this barrier to employment for people with records and allow them to get their foot
in the door with hiring managers-hopefully increasing the probability they eventually get
a job. This is important because employment is a key avenue for reducing recidivism and is
often a requirement for parole (Grogger, 1998; Schnepel, 2016; Uggen, 2000; Yang, 2015).
    Mike Vuolo, Sarah Lageson, and Christopher Uggen (2017, this issue) use data from
a previous field experiment to answer several questions of interest about the potential
impact of BTB policies. In this experiment, they sent same-race pairs of testers to apply
for entry-level jobs at 605 establishments in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota in 2007

Direct correspondence to Amanda Agan, Rutgers University, New Jersey Hall, 75 Hamilton St, New Brunswick,
NJ 08901 (e-mail: aagan@econ.rutgers.edu).

DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12266           Q 2017 American Society of Criminology 177
                                 Criminology & Public Policy * Volume 16 * Issue 1

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