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Investigating Prisoner Reentry: The Impact of Conviction Status on the Employment Prospects of Young Men

This report presents the findings of a study that sent matched teams of testers to apply for hundreds of entry-level jobs in New York City to see how employers respond to applicants who are equally qualified but vary by race, ethnicity, and criminal record. They found that a criminal record has a significant negative impact on hiring outcomes, even for applicants with otherwise appealing characteristics. Across teams, a criminal record reduced the likelihood of a callback or job offer by nearly 50 percent (28% vs 15%). Second, they concluded that the negative effect of a criminal conviction is substantially larger for blacks than for whites. The criminal record penalty suffered by white applicants (30%) is roughly half the size of the penalty for blacks with a record (60%).