Invisible stripes? A field experiment on the mark of a criminal record in the British labour market


Principal Investigator: Marti Rovira


One-third of all sanctioned criminal offenders are reconvicted of a new crime within just one year, including over 60% of short-term prisoners. In response to these alarming statistics, the government has issued a call for evidence on the barriers to employment for ex-offenders, as employment is believed to be a prime contributor to desistance from crime.

In this context, this research grapples with three questions: Is the stigma of a criminal record an obstacle to finding employment? For whom? And under what circumstances? This research will use an experimental methodology, known as correspondence study, thus far unused in the UK in this topic that overcomes the methodological obstacles limiting previous studies.

The results will deepen our knowledge of the consequences of having a criminal record, including whether the consequences of a record vary by gender and ethnicity.