Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative

The Labor and Employment Law Program (LEL) established the Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative (CJEI) to improve employment outcomes for justice-involved individuals, assist employers in rethinking their approach to hiring, engage in research to study reentry practices, and influence policy makers and legislators on criminal justice reform. 

The CJEI analyzes and proposes best practices on the issues of evaluating candidates with criminal records, employment of justice-involved individuals, criminal records education, and occupational licensing. Its work has included national conferences, focus groups, educational public programs, direct training of individuals with criminal records, employers and advocates, outreach, and the development of resources including the website:  https://cjei.cornell.edu/

Queensboro Correctional Facility Education Program

As part of a NYS Assembly grant, the Queensboro Correctional Facility Education Program provides criminal record education and employment law training to incarcerated men. The training includes how to:

  • obtain documentation about a criminal record;
  • read and understand a criminal record;
  • identify inaccuracies;
  • evaluate options to seal or correct the record; 
  • determine eligibility for certificates;
  • discuss a record with an employer; and
  • utilize ban the box laws and New York Correction Law Article 23-A.

Cornell Project for Records Assistance

The Cornell Project for Records Assistance (CPRA) is part of the remedy in the Gonzalez v. Pritzker Title VII class action race discrimination case against the U.S. Census Bureau. CPRA provides individually customized training sessions to people who applied for positions with the 2010 Census and were denied employment based on unconfirmed criminal histories. Training includes information on understanding the individual's criminal record; record correction; how to obtain certificates; sealing laws; employment law; discussing a criminal record with employers; and addressing gaps in employment history.