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The Mark of a Criminal Record

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heather grado

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of The Mark of a Criminal Record

The Mark of a Criminal Record Author: Devah Pager
Presented by: Heather Grado Just some facts:
2 million people currently incarcerated

Over 500,000 prisoners released each year

Article focuses on consequences of incarceration of employment outcomes of black and white males seeking jobs
Tests the degree to which a criminal record affects future employment opportunities

Splits the study with black and white males to see if race affects the outcome Trends in Incarceration Over the past 3 decades number of prisoners in
U.S. has increased by more than 600%
We are the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world
We are giving harsher sentences for a wider range of offenses
The “tough on crime” policies get prisoners off the street but there is nothing for them when they get out There is 2 million prisoners incarcerated and close to all of them will be released There are currently 12 million working age ex felons which represent 8% of the U.S.
Out of that number almost two thirds will be charged with new crimes and 40% will end up going back to prison within three years and will not have as many opportunities in the future regarding a job
The fact that the ex prisoners cannot find a job is the strongest predictor os recidivism
The incarceration for young black men in 2000 was 10% as opposed to 1% for young white men
Young black men likelihood of incarceration: 28%
Young black men drop outs likelihood of incarceration: 50%
Prior Research Experience with the criminal justice system leads to very few economic opportunities
Used longitudinal survey data
Researchers studied the employment probabilities and income of ex prisoners and found a strong negative effect of incarceration
There are some limitations with survey data:It is difficult to rule out the possibility that unmeasured differences between those who are not prisoners may up the observed results Model of Direct Causation One possible model of the relationship between incarceration and employment outcomes.
It is direct.
But the population of immates is not a random sample of the population.
What if the outcomes of ex offenders are just traits that they had before being incarcerated incarceration employment Model of spurious effects No direct link between incarceration and employment outcomes but instead connected to characteristics which increase the likelihood of incarceration and poor employment. The relationship between incarceration and employment is entirely spurious and the poor employment outcomes are from unmeasured individual characteristics. This theory is not widely supported like the theory stating that there’s a strong link between incarceration and employment or there lack of. Alcohol/drug abuse
behavioral problems
poor interpersonal skills incarceration employment Present Study criminal record on employment opportunities Incarceration transforms individuals’ opportunities to where they cannot work
The prisoners are branded as a specific type of individual in society just like college graduates or individuals who are on welfare. They end up being discriminated against or socially excluded. The approach isolates causal mechanisms.
Present study extends work of Schwartz and Sklonick and is a more comprehensive assessment of the hiring process of ex-offenders within a vast amount of entry level jobs. Uses experimental audit design, uses in person application procedures Effectively isolates effect of a criminal record while observing employer behavior in real-life settings Research Questions -What extend employers use information about criminal histories to make hiring decisions.
-What extent to which race continues to serve as a major barrier to employment.
-Whether the effect of a criminal record differs for black and white applicants. Audit Methodology The basic design of an employment audit involves sending matched pairs of individuals which are testers, to apply for real life job openings in order to see whether employers respond differently to applicants based on their characteristics.It combines experimental methods with real-life contexts which allows for greater generalization than a lab experiment and better grasp of the causal mechanisms that are observed. Audit studies have been used to study race, gender, and age. Study Design Uses 4 male auditors (also called testers)
2 black men, 2 white men
Testers are paired by race, black with black, white with white
Testers were 23 year old college students who were matched on the basis of physical appearance and general style of self-presentation.
Within the two groups one auditor was assigned a criminal record for the first week and the second for the next week and so on. No significant differences were found for the outcome of individual testers or by month of testing
The audit groups were randomly assigned 15 job openings each week. The white and black pair were assigned separate sets of jobs but the same race pair would apply for the same job. Study Design One would apply first and the second tester would apple one day later. Total of 350 employers were audited during the course of the study 150 for white testers, 200 for black testers 200 for black testers because they received fewer call backs on average
Following the completion of each job application the testers filled out a 6 page response form that contained relevant information form the test like type of occupation, wage, the size of the building, where it was located in the city and the race and sex of the employer.
The testers also wrote a summary of overall interaction and if the employers made any comments related to race or criminal records. The audit study only focuses on the first stage of the employment process in which they visited the employers and filled out applications but never came back for a second visit. The primary dependent variable is the proportion of employers that called back the testers. Chose the first stage because shows the effects of a criminal record and discrimination. Tester Profiles Felony drug conviction, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine
18 months served in prison
Had high school diplomas as highest level of education
Had work histories
Experience in entry level jobs had had continual employment
Last job was a supervisory role. Design Issue Both of the individuals in each group have the same experience in work. So he made the ex offender have 6 months of work experience gained in prison. The non offender graduated from high school one year later and worked for a job the same time as the offender. Having the non offender graduate one year later shows less motivation. Not all applications ask if you have been convicted of a crime so they needed to inform the employer of the such. If there was no question the offender would list his parole officer as a reference. Study Context and Descriptives In Milwaukee which was economically strong
Between June and December of 2001Unemployment rates 5.2% in June and 4% in September and this had some effect of the outcome of the experiment
Jobs were found from an internet job service
Jobs in downtown, suburbs and surrounding counties
All testers had reliable transportation
Most common rob types were for restaurant workers, warehouse workers, laborers, and production workers
75% of employers had direct question on the applications about criminal history
27% of employers would preform a background check
voicemail boxes were set up for references and for the testers
but only 4 employers called references The Effects of a Criminal Record for Whites 34% of whites without criminal record received call backs
17% of whites with criminal record received call backs

criminal record reduces the likelihood of callbacks by 50%
criminal records do have a negative effect The Effect of Race Race still plays a major role in employment oppurtunities Blacks without criminal record: 14% call backs
Whites without criminal record: 34% call backs

Blacks with criminal record: 5% call backs
Whites with criminal record: 17% call backs Whites with a criminal record are more likely to receive call backs than black without a criminal record Racial Differences in the
Effects of a Criminal Record The effects of a criminal record are more negatively skewed for black males than for white males

The ratio of callbacks for non offenders relative to ex-offenders for whites is 2:1
The ratio for non offenders relative to ex-offenders for blacks is 3:1
The effect of a criminal record is 40% larger for blacks

Employers are more reluctant to hire blacks than whites with or without a criminal record
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