Still Marked? Criminal Record, Education, Race, and Employment in the Era of Mass Incarceration

Michael Cerda-Jara : Sociology

Mentor: David Harding, Sociology

Michael’s research investigates the role of higher education in employment prospects for people with criminal records. In 2018, Michael successfully executed an experimental audit study of job application callbacks for college-educated applicants with or without criminal records, which surprisingly, found no difference between the two. However, this still leaves unanswered whether the applicant’s race, or timing of the attainment of the college degree affect the number of callbacks. For Michael’s Haas Scholars project, continuing to focus on college-educated men, he will add these variables to his prior audit research design.  He will then carry out qualitative interviews to clarify the mechanisms that play a role in employment prospects, the experiences and stigmas job applicants with a criminal record encounter, and the strategies they employ to manage this in their employment search.