By Katie Lannan, State House News Service
BOSTON — Recidivism dropped slightly after the state banned employers from inquiring about job applicants’ criminal records but the employment rates of ex-offenders has also dropped since the legal reform was adopted, according to Federal Reserve Bank of Boston researchers.
A new research report, presented Tuesday during a breakfast at the John Adams Courthouse, “has arrows that go in both directions” reflecting positive and negative trends, Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Will Brownsberger said.
“The question of how we can help people transition back and start over their lives is just one of the central questions of our time,” Brownsberger said. He said there is “quite a distance still to go” in helping released prisoners re-integrate into society.
Darrin Howell of the health care workers union 1199 SEIU, who was incarcerated for a year at age 21 on a firearm possession charge, said making it easier for people coming out of prison to obtain jobs — through efforts including criminal record access reform and job training programs during their sentences — can help them avoid returning to crime.
“Unfortunately, it was easier to find guns and drugs in the community than it was to find a 9-to-5, and that’s just a harsh reality for folks with a criminal record, that the streets is ready to employ,” he said.