When employers hold the keys


Researching employers’ attitudes towards released prisoners

What would you think about before employing someone with a criminal past?

That’s a question Trevor Best, from Pathway Supported Employment, and Jarrod Gilbert, of Independent Research Solutions, will be seeking to answer as they undertake a research project studying New Zealand employers’ attitudes towards released prisoners.

“A number of studies show a strong association between gaining and sustaining employment and lower incarceration rates,” says Best. “However, the power to grant employment rests with the employer who may be willing (or unwilling) to give someone a chance — and that willingness depends on the attitudes of that employer towards someone with a history of offending.”

The aim of the research is to examine these attitudes and the factors that impact on the decision to consider someone with a criminal past for a job. The findings will be used to make policy recommendations to the Government, and to inform our own employment service and similar employment services around the country.

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