Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium

What Can Researchers, Policymakers, and Practitioners Do to Improve Outcomes?

Group of unrecognizable candidates waiting for a job interview, photo by skynesher/Getty Images

Photo by skynesher/Getty Images

Event Details


Tuesday, October 15, 2019


8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Eastern
Program begins at 9:15 a.m.


Continental breakfast and lunch will be served


RAND Corporation
1200 South Hayes Street
Arlington, Virginia 22202

Register for the Symposium

Register Online

For questions about this event, please contact Kysha Barnes-Chambers at

About the Program

In recent years, a number of efforts have been introduced to improve employment prospects for former offenders, from federal FIRST STEP legislation (H.R.5682) to presidential candidate platforms addressing the topic. While there are several existing policies and programs aimed at equalizing employment opportunities for individuals with criminal records—including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, reforms to occupational licensing laws, certificates of rehabilitation, ban-the-box policies, and reentry programs—the current state of the field is in flux and results are mixed. So, what are the next steps?

On October 15, RAND will host a one-day symposium to discuss and explore policies and practices that help improve employment outcomes of people with criminal records. The event will feature keynote remarks from policy and practice professionals and panel presentations from experts on employment issues related to people with criminal records, including Dr. Priscillia Hunt and Dr. Dionne Barnes-Proby.

Key Discussion Points

  • Discuss the current status of FIRST STEP with respect to employment and wages
  • Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of employer-targeted incentive policies (e.g., Work Opportunities Tax Credit) and equity-focused policies (e.g., ban-the-box, certificates of rehabilitation) in improving employment and criminal justice related outcomes for former offenders
  • Share best practices for evidence-based reentry programs for formerly incarcerated men and women
  • Explore lessons learned from employer-driven practices to recruit, support, and retain individuals with a criminal record

Plenary Speakers

Shawn Bushway

Shawn Bushway, Ph.D.

Professor of Public Administration and Policy, School of Criminal Justice
University of Albany – State University of New York

Nicole Jarrett

Nicole Jarrett, Ph.D.

Division Director
National Reentry Resource Center

Toney L. Earl

Toney L. Earl, Jr., OWDS, CPC

Executive Director & Founder, M.A.D.E. Transitional Services
Co-Chair and Engagement Lead, Reentry Business Association
Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia University Business School

Peter Leasure

Peter Leasure, J.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
York College of Pennsylvania

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller, Ph.D.

Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Philosophy
Director of Education, Prisons and Justice Initiative
Managing Director, Georgetown Pivot Program
Georgetown University

Naomi Sugie

Naomi F. Sugie, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law and Society
University of California at Irvine

Michael Vuolo

Michael Vuolo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology
Ohio State University

Additional panelists forthcoming.

Program Outline

8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Registration & Morning Refreshments
9:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Opening Plenary: Can criminal justice reform help former offenders get and keep a job, or better yet, a career?
10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
  • Morning Refreshment Break
10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Policy Panel: Improving career prospects through federal policies – Is it working? What can we learn from state and local policies?
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Facilitated Discussion Lunch
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Practice Strategies Panel: Addressing employment outcomes through reentry and community supervision programs – What are best practices?
2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
  • Afternoon Refreshment Break
2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Share Lessons Learned from Lunch Discussions
3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Closing Plenary: What are the next steps to improve career prospects for people with a criminal record?
3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closing & Thank You

Please note that the program is subject to change without notice.

Who Should Attend?

  • Probation/Parole professionals
  • Criminal justice reform advocates/advisers
  • Corrections professionals (e.g. prison educators, jail officers)
  • Legal and judicial service professionals (e.g. judges, prosecutors, public defenders)
  • Law enforcement (e.g. sheriffs)
  • Re-entry specialists (e.g. social workers, jail/prison transition managers, outreach and job placement specialists, Rehabilitation professionals)
  • Workforce development professionals
  • Employment professionals (e.g. HR associates, temp agency specialists)
  • Congressional staff
  • Researchers and academics