Authored by Ben Shelton, Policy Associate
Nearly a third of American adults are arrested by the age of twenty-three. This record and its consequences will follow these people for life. Such consequences remain present even if an offender has paid their dues to society, is qualified for the job, and has proven they will not reoffend.
The difficulty ex-offenders experience finding employment is harmful to communities, as the ability to secure gainful employment is an important predictor of an ex-offender’s successful reentry into society and distance from crime. The harder it is to find employment, the more recidivism increases, and community safety suffers as individuals may return to criminal activities out of desperation.
State governments have struggled to address this growing issue. Instead of making it easier for this population to find work, and thus have a chance at bettering society, state governments have allowed barriers to employment for this group to persist.