The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released two reports that are part of a larger effort to inform the government on potential barriers that individuals with prior arrest or convictions face when seeking federal employment.
The first report, “Second Chances Part I,” delves into the employment probabilities of individuals with prior arrests or convictions within the federal sector. The report found that:
- Between 2003 and 2017, individuals with incarceration histories were approximately half as likely to secure federal employment compared to their counterparts without such records.
- The introduction of “ban-the-box” laws, which postpone criminal background checks until after a conditional job offer, could be instrumental in mitigating unlawful discrimination.
The subsequent report, “Second Chances Part II,” examines the frequency of criminal conduct issues during federal employment background investigations. The key takeaways include:
- From 2018 to 2020, 22.3% of suitability investigations for federal civil service positions flagged criminal conduct issues.
- 76% of these led to favorable outcomes, allowing the candidates to join the federal workforce.
These findings show how the federal government, as the nation’s largest employer, is taking strides to be more inclusive and understanding in the ongoing search to fill new positions. By recognizing the potential and value of individuals with arrest or conviction records, the government is setting a lenient precedent for other sectors to follow.