Panel Paper: Protective State Policies and the Employment of Fathers with Records

Friday, November 9, 2018
Coolidge - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Allison Dwyer Emory, Rutgers University

Fathers with criminal records contend with widespread barriers to employment, despite evidence that employment both reduces fathers’ risk for recidivism and mitigates the collateral consequences of parents’ criminal justice involvement for children. To address these employment challenges, states have adopted ‘ban the box’ style policies to regulate how criminal records are used during the hiring and licensing processes. Recent evaluations of these programs have cast doubt on their effectiveness, however, raising concerns about the unintended employment consequences of statistical discrimination against young men from racial minorities. Using panel data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study merged with detailed longitudinal data on state-level policies protecting the employment of individuals with records, this study investigates whether protective policies are associated with fathers’ employment, including those with and without criminal records. Findings indicate that state policies protecting individuals with criminal records are negatively associated with the employment of fathers with records. Consistent with statistical discrimination, race stratified models indicate this negative association is particularly strong for Black fathers both with and without criminal records.