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Criminal history and employment: an interdisciplinary literature synthesis

Jakari N. Griffith (Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA)
Candalyn B. Rade (Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA)
Kemi Salawu Anazodo (Brock University, Saint Catharines, Canada)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 9 May 2019

Issue publication date: 25 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of research conducted over the past ten years (2008–2018) that examines the relationship between criminal record and work in the USA. Furthermore, a research agenda is presented that may help to better inform future investigations of the relationships shared between these variables.


The authors review 58 peer-reviewed research articles identified in four electronic article databases: Business Source Premier, PsycINFO, ProQuest Sociology Collection and ProQuest Criminology Collection.


Of the 58 articles fitting the final inclusion criteria, 37 evaluated employee specific related outcomes, whereas 24 took the perspective of the employer (including some overlap). Studies employed a variety of methodologies and techniques, with qualitative interviews, archival data and audit methods as the most prevalent. Few studies examined the relationships between criminal record and work in ways that demonstrated improved employment outcomes for both employer and the employed together.


This is one of the first papers to synthesize interdisciplinary literature related to criminal record and employment, including an assessment of the varying methodological treatments and perspectives used in research studies to assess this relationship. The authors believe the findings from this research effort will provide much needed research direction for investigators seeking to make contributions to improving employment outcomes.



The authors thank Julia Watson for her research assistance on this project.


Griffith, J.N., Rade, C.B. and Anazodo, K.S. (2019), "Criminal history and employment: an interdisciplinary literature synthesis", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 505-528.



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