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How do felony convictions impact employment prospects?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Felonies

Felony convictions can have a lasting impact on one’s ability to secure employment. When applying for jobs, candidates may have to disclose their criminal history. Felony convictions may disqualify them from consideration. Employers may view those with felonies as potential risks to their business. This can lead to discrimination and barriers to reentry into the workforce.

Understanding how felony convictions affect employment prospects is helpful for those looking to rebuild their lives and pursue meaningful career opportunities.

Limited job opportunities

Felony convictions can restrict job opportunities, particularly in industries with background checks or strict hiring policies. Many employers have policies against hiring people with felony convictions. This is especially likely in positions involving trust, responsibility or access to sensitive information. As a result, those with felony convictions may only be able to land low-paying or entry-level jobs. This is often true regardless of their qualifications or skills.

Legal barriers and licensing restrictions

Certain professions, such as health care or education, may have legal barriers or licensing restrictions that prevent those with felonies from obtaining employment. Regulations vary regarding the impact of felony convictions on professional licensure. However, those with certain types of felonies may be ineligible to obtain or renew professional licenses.

Stigma and discrimination

Despite efforts to promote second chances, people with felonies often face stigma and discrimination in the job market. Some employers may disqualify applicants with criminal records. This can perpetuate cycles of unemployment and recidivism. Societal attitudes and misconceptions about individuals with criminal histories can further exacerbate barriers to employment.

Per the U.S. Census Bureau, people with felonies are about 10% less likely than their peers without felonies to have jobs. Addressing these barriers requires a concerted effort to promote fair hiring practices, provide support and resources for reentry and challenge societal perceptions of those with criminal histories.