According to the National Employment Law Project (Rodriguez & Emsellem, 2011), it is estimated that 65 million people, which is 1 in 4 adults in the United States, has a criminal record. The NELP research report also stated that there are many people for which a criminal record shows up on a background check have never been convicted of a crime, due in part to the fact that (according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics) one-third of felony arrests never lead to conviction (Rodriguez & Emsellem, 2011). In another study being funded by the National Institute of Justice (Blumstein & Nakamura, 2009) whether an applicant states up front that they have committed a crime, or the employer determines this through a criminal background check, there is a likelihood that the applicant will not get the job, because many employers are unwilling to hire ex-offenders (Blumstein & Nakamura, 2009).
As is mentioned here and in the attached article, individuals with criminal records, and particularly those who have served time in prison, face numerous barriers to employment. According to the National Employment Law Project study, in a survey by the Society of Human Resources Management, 92 percent of their members companies perform criminal background checks on some or all job candidates (Rodriguez & Emsellem, 2011). The significance of these background checks have a variable influence on the decision to hire. According to the SHRM survey, the confirmation of convictions can have a very influential impact on whether to extend a job offer to the candidate (SHRM, 2010).
The attached article offers some “do’s and don’t” to encourage employers to not look past those with criminal records, but earnestly consider this population. This author has previously documented many businesses and organizations offering support and employment opportunities to former criminals and former drug addicts (Bucci, 2014). It is the challenge of our organization and also our faith to consider these labor pools as well as the general population when searching for talent. Managers and organizations must realize that all people are imperfect, and need directive manager behaviors early in their tenure and on-going coaching to be successful. The data suggests that aberrant, non-compliant behavior, called “deviant” behavior by Aquino, Lewis and Bradfield (1999), is common in organizations. As many as 75 percent of employees have engaged in some form of theft, fraud, embezzlement, vandalism, sabotage, and unexcused absenteeism or otherwise harmed their employer (Harper, 1990; Hayes 2008).
An offer of employment doesn’t mean that each worker is immediately transformed; and that the rest of their lives are filled with peace and joy. It must be noted that there is an uncontrollable variable of employee self-determination in the reinstatement process. It was noted in hte research that the behaviors of the managers do not necessarily predict nor can they accurately determine the reaction of the subordinate. There may be additional factors affecting employee commitment or disillusionment, such as cultural items, finances, or lack of opportunity elsewhere. But the opportunity to gain work skills and successfully find employment may help keep these former prisoners off the street, and not back in the business of committing crime for survival (Ward, 2009). In this way, work becomes redemptive, providing support for the individual, providing contributions of the workers to society, and helping prisoners reconnect their capabilities to the skill needs of willing industries like trucking, transportation, pet grooming, machinists and cosmetology (Ward, 2009).
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** Aquino, K., Lewis, M.U., & Bradfield, M. (1999). Justice Constructs, Negative Affectivity, and Employee Deviance: A Proposed Model and Empirical Test. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, 1073-1091
** Bucci, J.J. (2014). Talent acquisition: Developing untapped talent utilizing redemptive managerial behaviors. Paper presented at the Christian Business Faculty Association Annual Conference, Trevecca Nazarene University, October 2014.
** Harper, D. (1990). Spotlight abuse-save profits. Industrial Distribution, 79, 47- 51.
** Hayes, R. (2008). Strategies to detect and prevent workplace dishonesty. Alexandria, VA: ASIS Foundation.
** Rodriguez, M.N., and Emsellem, M. (2011, March). 65 million “need not apply:” The case for reforming criminal background checks for employment. New York, NY: National Employment Law Project.
** Society for Human Resource Management (2010, January 22). Background Checking: General Background Checks SHRM Poll. SHRM Online – Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/BackgroundCheckingGeneral.aspx. ** Ward, P.R. (2009, April 6). Program aims at job training for ex-convicts. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2009/04/06/Program-aims-at-job-training-for-ex-convicts/stories/200904060187.