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found evidence that employers who do not have such information often engage in statistical

discrimination against this demographic group (Holzer et. al., 2002a and 2002b).

Even for men who actually have criminal records, the provision of more information

(assuming it is accurate) might help as well. For instance, labor market intermediary

organizations can provide information to employers about the nature of the offense committed by

offenders, and any productive work experience that they might have gained before or since

release.18 In fact, the relatively lesser aversion employers express to those ex-offenders with

some recent work experience suggests some potential returns to the provision of such experience

(in the form of publicly provided “transitional jobs”) to those leaving prison.

Some public funding for organizations that provide this information to employers, as well

as various services and/or work experience to the offenders, might therefore be appropriate.

Furthermore, given that so many employers check backgrounds and often refuse to hire ex-

offenders because they are legally required to do so, some review of these legal barriers –

particularly the laws that prevent employers from hiring them into specific occupations and

industries - might be in order as well.

18 In fact, organizations such as the Center for Employment Opportunities in New York and the Safer Foundation in Chicago, as well as America Works and the Welfare-to-Work Partnership, are now playing those roles for ex- offenders.

23

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