Protective State Policies and the Employment of Fathers With Records

Allison Dwyer Emory , Rutgers University

Fathers with criminal records contend with widespread barriers to employment, despite evidence that employment mitigates the collateral consequences of parents’ criminal justice involvement for children. To address these employment challenges, states have been adopting policies to regulate how criminal records are used during the hiring and licensing processes. Recent evaluations of these programs have raised concerns about the unintended consequences of statistical discrimination against young men from racial minorities. Using panel data from the Fragile Families study merged with detailed longitudinal data on state-level policies protecting individuals with records from employment and licensing bans, this study investigates whether protective policies are associated with fathers’ employment, including those with and without criminal records. Findings indicate that these state policies are negatively associated with the employment of fathers with records. Race stratified models indicate this negative association is particularly strong for Black fathers, including those both with and without criminal records.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity