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Criminal Background Checks and Hiring Ex-Offenders - Interview at 2009 the NIJ Conference

NCJ Number
Al Blumstein; Kiminori Nakamura
Date Published
June 2009
4 pages
This video and transcript cover interviews with two members of a NIJ seminar panel that addressed issues in employer criminal background checks and the hiring of ex-offenders.
One of the interviewees, Al Blumstein, had served on the Task Force on Backgrounding of America, which was established by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. He notes the expanded use of background checking by employers that impacts their hiring of a large percentage of the population that has been arrested for a criminal offense. At issue in government policies is the protection from discrimination in hiring when the risk to an employer of hiring a particular ex-offender has actuarially been reduced to that of a person without a criminal record. Issues discussed in the interview are the varying risks for recidivism over time in the task force's study of robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary. The focus was on the "redemption" time for each of these offenses, i.e., the number of years after the offense when the risk of reoffending approaches that of a person without a criminal history. One proposal stemming from the task force study is the crafting of a law that will protect an employer from being sued for failure to exercise due diligence in the hiring of an employee, if that employee commits an offense in the course of his/her work after the "redemption" time has passed. In their hiring decisions, employers would follow government mandates regarding "redemption" times for each type of offense involved.