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Thus, employers check criminal records before most ex-offenders have had a chance to

demonstrate their ability to successfully hold the jobs to which they are applying. The potential

negative effect of such information on the employment prospects of offenders is thus reinforced.

Finally, and as noted earlier, our survey was conducted over the period of May 2001 and

November 2001 during which time the events of September 11 took place. In fact, about 62

percent of our surveys were completed before September 11, leaving a substantial fraction

completed thereafter. These events no doubt raised awareness about the backgrounds, in

particular criminal backgrounds, of individuals, and perhaps increased employers’ concerns

about hiring ex-offenders. Figure 9 present some data on employer responses pre and post

September 11 to the questions of hiring ex-offenders and conducting criminal background checks

that we examined earlier. The data show that employers report no difference in hiring ex-

offenders over the past year pre and post September 11, which is expected since these events

came well after much of this hiring had taken place. However, when asked whether they would

consider hiring ex-offenders currently, about 12 percent of employers indicated that they would

pre September 11, while 6 percent of employers said they would not post September 11. In

addition, a slightly higher fraction of employers indicated that they always check criminal

backgrounds of applicants after September 11. However, whether this increase in checking can

be attributed to these events remains in question, since the overall time trend for checking is

positive over the period of our survey.

4. Conclusions

In this paper, we analyze employer demand for ex-offenders using a recent employer

survey taken in Los Angeles in 2001. We analyze not only employer stated preferences to hire


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