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Criminal Background Checks and Access to Jobs

Urban new logoThis report from the Urban Institute examines the collateral consequences of criminal background checks on job opportunities. Using Washington, DC, as a case study, the report outlines how such background checks can limit the pool of jobs that people with criminal histories qualify for, while simultaneously causing employers to limit their prospective applicant pool. Local regulations and the nature of the labor market add further limitations. The study reveals that people involved in the justice system—whether formerly incarcerated or not—face significant challenges to finding work in the city. Suggestions for future research to better inform current policy, maintain a sense of the scale of the issue, and improve system-level responses are also discussed.