The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Volume 701, Issue 1, Page 46-60, May 2022.
In this article, I review what we know about the impacts of felony convictions and incarceration on later employment and earnings, particularly for those under community supervision. I then discuss what employers and public policymakers can do to improve these outcomes. First, I review the basic empirical facts on the employment and earnings of returning citizens, various hypotheses that could explain these facts, and the available evidence that support those hypotheses. Second, I review why people under community supervision may have either similar or different employment outcomes from those of returning citizens more broadly. Third, I consider the perspectives of employers and why it might be in their interests to reduce hiring penalties associated with earlier incarceration (especially in tight labor markets). Fourth, I consider what we know about policies to reduce these penalties and improve outcomes. In sum, I argue that both moral and economic arguments exist for a general reduction of hiring penalties that would improve employment outcomes.