This project examines the relative effects of human capital signaled by prison work certificates and a criminal record on labor market outcomes. It also investigates whether these effects vary according to demographic category. The study will advance understanding of how employers evaluate and weigh prison certifications when making hiring decisions and the ways formerly incarcerated men navigate the job search process with credentials that send potentially contradictory signals to employers. Findings will be relevant to the provision and structure of prison credentialing programs and ways decision makers and practitioners can best prepare incarcerated men for the labor market.
Data for this project will be collected through: 1) an audit study via online submission of manipulated resumÃ©s to employers and 2) interviews with 50 employers and 50 formerly incarcerated people. In the resumÃ©s, possession of a prison apprenticeship certificate and demographic characteristics are manipulated. Interviews with employers inquire about qualities they perceive help formerly incarcerated people overcome records, precautions taken with formerly incarcerated people who possess prison certifications, and attitudes regarding the quality of prison training. Interviews with formerly incarcerated men ask about prior and current work experience, job satisfaction, motivations for obtaining prison certifications, and the usefulness of prison training in their everyday work.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.