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Want a good employee? Hire one with a criminal record.

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2017 | Firm News

Want a good employee? Hire one with a criminal record. In one of the first systematic evaluations of ex-felony offenders in the workplace, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst assessed whether the common reasons employers give against hiring criminals are borne out in the rare instances when they are hired. Using original data assembled from military records that received through a FOIA request, we follow 1.3 million ex-offender and non-offender enlistees who enlisted during 2002-2009. It was found that individuals who have been arrested for felony-level offenses have similar attrition rates to those with no criminal record. Statistical models show they are no more likely to be discharged for the negative reasons employers often assume. In fact, the only cause of abbreviated service that appears to differ significantly for those with and without serious criminal records is a higher rate of death in the course of service observed among our sample members with criminal records. As for promotional trajectories, it was found that individuals with felony-level criminal backgrounds are promoted more quickly and to higher ranks than other enlistees. The military’s criminal forgiveness process holds promise for the civilian sector, showing that proper screening can result in success to the mutual benefit of employers and individuals with criminal histories.