Attitudes toward hiring offenders: The roles of criminal history, job qualifications, and race

Femina P. Varghese, Erin E. Hardin, Rebecca L. Bauer, Robert D. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Occupational functioning is an important factor in the success of offenders reentering society. Yet few studies have empirically examined the factors influencing job obtainment of offenders. This study endeavors to begin to fill this gap by examining attitudes in hiring applicants charged with a crime. To accomplish this goal, 275 college students read a job description for a cashier position and then read 1 of 12 descriptions of an applicant varied by criminal history, qualifications, and race. Participants rate the applicants across dimensions relevant to hiring decisions. Results indicate that applicants with drug possession charges and low qualifications were less likely to be referred for hire. Severity of charges influences employability. Among applicants with a misdemeanor, qualifications increase employability, but qualifications have no influence for applicants with a felony. Implications of these findings for policy and vocational rehabilitation programming are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-782
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • employment
  • offender
  • vocation


Dive into the research topics of 'Attitudes toward hiring offenders: The roles of criminal history, job qualifications, and race'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this