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State-Mandated Criminal Background Employment Screening: A High Stakes Window into the Desistance Process, New York, 2008-2009

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data
  • Bushway, Shawn
  • Kurlychek, Megan
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Publication Place
Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice
Free Keywords
Schema: ICPSR
conviction records; criminal histories; employment; employment potential; long term care; risk assessment
  • Abstract

    These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed. This study examines criminal background checks that were carried out by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) for individuals with criminal history records who have been provisionally hired to work as unlicensed direct care employees in the long term care industry. These individuals applied for jobs in this industry for the first time in 2008 and 2009. This information was then augmented with criminal history information provided by the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The collection contains 1 Stata data file (Criminal_background_check.dta (n=7209; 40 variables)).
  • Abstract

    The national discussion on prisoner reentry has led to a new interest in differentiating between active offenders and people who have desisted from crime. Properly identifying desisters has particularly high stakes in the labor market, both because employment could facilitate this process and because minorities are more likely to have criminal records than whites. The predictive validity of the measures of desistance and the impacts of record sealing were tested in an attempt to learn how to better identify individuals who desist from crime.
  • Methods

    Administrative data on all applicants was provided by the Department of Health, which partners with the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to conduct a criminal history record check. Data collected during this screening process was augmented with follow-up arrest data from DCJS, rap sheets from the FBI, and employment data from the Department of Labor. DCJS served as the data aggregator for this project. Researchers identified ex-offenders who posed no more risk than individuals without criminal history records, tested the predictive validity of the crime desistance measures using three years of arrest data post job application, studied desistance separately by gender and race, and used quasi experimental methods for two causal studies of desistance (whether record sealing can increase employment and/or aid in desistance, and whether variation in the denial of employment by DOH can impact rates of desistance).
  • Methods

    Criminal_background_check.dta (cases=7209; 40 variables): this file includes data derived from administrative records for individuals with conviction records that applied for jobs in the long term care industry for the first time in 2008 and 2009. Variables include information about individual's felonies and misdemeanor arrests as well as felony and misdemeanor convictions including age at arrest/conviction, number of arrests/convictions, number of years since last arrest/conviction, and type of offense. Demographic variables include sex and race.
  • Methods

    Presence of Common Scales: None
  • Methods

    Response Rates: Not applicable
  • Abstract


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 2008--2009
  • 2008 / 2009
  • Collection date: 2013
Geographic Coverage
  • New York (state)
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Individuals with conviction records who initiated their first state-mandated criminal background check process for direct access care positions in New York State's healthcare industry in 2008 or 2009. Smallest Geographic Unit: Region
The New York State Department of Health's (DOH) Criminal History Record Check Legal Unit conducts lifetime, nationwide criminal history record checks on the approximately 75,000 new applicants each year who are provisionally hired into this industry. Information on the background check decision comes from DOH. The researchers supplemented the DOH file with criminal record information from the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Over 139,000 individuals were provisionally hired and underwent DOH's criminal background check in 2008 or 2009; of this group, approximately 9% had a criminal record. The data file consists of just those individuals with conviction records, and includes only cases with three years of follow-up data available from the Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Collection Mode
  • record abstracts
Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2012-MU-MU-0048).
One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions; consult the study documentation to learn more on how to obtain the data.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 36414 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)

Update Metadata: 2018-02-27 | Issue Number: 2 | Registration Date: 2018-02-27

Bushway, Shawn; Kurlychek, Megan (2018): State-Mandated Criminal Background Employment Screening: A High Stakes Window into the Desistance Process, New York, 2008-2009. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.