It is well established that the path to stability for the formerly incarcerated is through employment, yet studies show that simply asking “Have You Been Convicted of a Felony?” is a major barrier on two levels.
First, it sends a message to the applicant that it is hopeless to apply; second, it allows employers to scrap an application without so much as an interview. Studies have proven this to be true.
A famous Milwaukee study found that Caucasian applicants received callbacks 35% of the time, but only 17% with a felony record. African-American applicants went from 15% to 4%, respectively. If only 4 out of 100 African-American Rhode Islanders with a felony can even get an interview, it is clear that the chances of honest employment are slim.
Roughly 25% of Americans have a criminal record, and around 1,000 people per month are released from incarceration back to Dallas.