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The Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative (CJEI) of the Labor and Employment Law Program provides criminal records and employment law training to job seekers who have been involved in the criminal legal system, assists employers in rethinking their approach to hiring, engages in research to study reentry practices, and influences policy makers and legislators on criminal justice reform.

Analyzing Reentry Training

Photo: Students at an IDEO work session

Millions of Americans have criminal records, which can limit the ability to get a job, driver’s license, and occupational license, as well as limit the access to housing, social services, and even voting in some places. These records often contain errors, which need to be corrected.

The goal of the Cornell Criminal Records Panel Study (CCRPS) is to learn what types of services and supports increase employment opportunities and earnings for people who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

Thanks to an ongoing longitudinal study based on results from the Cornell Project for Records Assistance (CPRA), CCRPS is learning more about criminal records and their consequences for individuals' employment and engagement in society. CJEI's work also included CPRA, the remedy in the Gonzalez v. Pritzker Title VII class action race discrimination case against the U.S. Census Bureau. CPRA provided customized training sessions to individuals who applied for positions with the 2010 Census and were denied employment based on unconfirmed criminal histories. Training included information on: understanding the individual’s criminal record, employment law; record correction; how to obtain certificates; sealing laws; discussing a criminal record with employers; and addressing gaps in employment history.