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How do collateral consequences create barriers to employment?

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2024 | Criminal

Understanding how collateral consequences create barriers to employment is important for those with criminal records. Collateral consequences refer to the secondary penalties and restrictions that extend beyond the direct legal consequences of a conviction.

These consequences impact individuals’ ability to secure employment. In doing so, they hinder their prospects for financial stability and successful reintegration into society.

Background checks and hiring practices

A major barrier to employment resulting from collateral consequences is the use of background checks by employers. Many employers conduct background checks to screen job applicants. Those with criminal records may face discrimination or outright rejection based on their past convictions. Even if the offense occurred many years ago, it can still affect hiring decisions.

Licensing restrictions

Certain professions require state or federal licensing. Those with criminal records may encounter licensing restrictions that prevent them from obtaining professional credentials. Licensing boards often have regulations prohibiting those with certain types of convictions from obtaining licenses in certain fields.

Stigma and discrimination

Those with criminal records also face stigma and discrimination from employers and society at large. This can further impede their ability to secure employment. Despite efforts to promote second chances and fair hiring practices, many employers harbor biases against those with criminal histories. This can make it hard for those with records to overcome negative perceptions and secure gainful employment.

The CSG Justice Center notes that Indiana residents with criminal offenses may struggle to find jobs within health care, gaming and education, in particular. By addressing these barriers, society can work toward a more inclusive workforce for everyone.