Thesis

Variables that influence perceived employability of former offenders: the role of type of custody, type of offense, program participation, and work qualifications

The current research investigated factors that influence perceived employability of former offenders: the effects of type of custody (state prison versus county jail versus a CBAC program), type of offense (violent versus N3: non-violent, non-serious, non-sex), vocational and life skills program participation (yes versus no), and work qualifications (high versus low). Another objective was to investigate conditions of the Public Safety Realignment. Seven hundred and eighty-two participants read a job description for a cashier position and then read 1 of 24 applicant descriptions which varied by type of custody, type of offense, program participation, and work qualifications. Participants indicated the degree to which they were willing to hire the applicant. Nineteen additional questions about employment-related attributes (basic skills, thinking skills, personal qualities, and dangerousness of applicant) were assessed. Results revealed interactions between the variables based upon whether the context focused on disqualifications (negative aspects of each condition such as low work qualifications, violent past, absence of vocational and life-skills classes) or qualifications (high work qualifications, non- violent past, participation in classes). Implications of the current research are discussed.

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