The Issue

When people with criminal records have jobs, they are less likely to commit crimes, and communities are safer.  Employment also saves taxpayer dollars through reduced spending on jails and prisons, courts, public benefits, and unemployment. People with criminal records confront policy barriers and discrimination that can prevent them from working to support themselves and their families.

Current Initiatives

New York City and State

Policy Recommendations

  • Governments as model employers: Governments should be model employers of people with criminal records. Governments should have transparent and fair hiring policies that only consider criminal convictions that are relevant to the worker’s ability to perform the job and that consider evidence of rehabilitation. Governments should adopt fair hiring policies like ban-the-box.
  • No categorical employment exclusions: Governments should reduce employment barriers that prevent people from working in particular fields. Employment barriers should be limited to convictions related to the employment sought. Restrictions should be limited in duration. People who are barred from jobs should have access to a waiver or other relief process.
  • Fair and accurate background checks: Criminal background checks for employment should include only complete and accurate records. They should exclude information about arrests that did not lead to convictions and convictions that have been expunged or sealed. Employers must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act and give notice and an opportunity to correct or explain information in a background check report prior to adverse action.
  • More expungement and sealing: Governments should expand the expungement or sealing of arrests and convictions.
  • Offer Certificates of Rehabilitation and Good Conduct: Governments should provide opportunities for people to receive Certificates of Rehabilitation or Certificates of Good Conduct. These certificates should relieve them of employment barriers.
  • No considering arrests that did not lead to convictions and irrelevant convictions: Employers and licensing agencies should not consider arrests that did not lead to a conviction. They should not consider convictions that are not relevant to an applicant’s ability to perform the job safely.
  • Implement fair hiring practices: Policies like ban-the-box and other fair hiring policies should be adopted. These policies allow job-seekers with criminal records to get a fair evaluation of their suitability for employment.
  • Specialized workforce services: Employment programs should include specialized services for people with criminal records. 

Learn More

To learn more about this issue, visit our Criminal Justice Resources.

To learn more about LAC’s impact, see our Accomplishments.

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