Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 527–535 | Cite as

Criminal records and housing: an experimental study

  • Peter LeasureEmail author
  • Tara Martin


Ex-offenders consistently identify stable housing as one of the most important factors to a successful reentry (Garland et al. 2010; O’Brien 2001). Housing options for ex-offenders generally include residing with family members, community-based correctional housing, non-correctional transitional housing, homeless and special needs shelters, subsidized housing, and private housing (Roman and Travis 2004). However, a host of factors may make several of these sources of housing infeasible, which can leave only private housing options (see Carey 2005, Desmond 2016, Legal Action Center 2016, and Roman and Travis 2004 for detailed discussions on barriers to housing). Unfortunately, there are also barriers to securing private housing, largely because of the increased use of background checks to screen out potentially risky applicants (Helfgott 1997; Thacher 2008). Despite the increase in background checks, it is still unclear what standard is being used to screen out potential...

Supplementary material

11292_2017_9289_MOESM1_ESM.docx (51 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 50.5 kb)


  1. Blumstein, A., & Nakamura, K. (2009). Redemption in the presence of widespread criminal background checks. Criminology, 47, 327–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carey, C. (2005). No second chance: People with criminal records denied access to public housing. University of Toledo Law Review, 36, 545–594.Google Scholar
  3. Clark, L. M. (2007). Landlord attitudes toward renting to released offenders. Federal Probation, 71, 20–30.Google Scholar
  4. Decker, S. H., Ortiz, N., Spohn, C., & Hedberg, E. (2015). Criminal stigma, race, and ethnicity: The consequences of imprisonment for employment. Journal of Criminal Justice, 43, 108–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: Poverty and profit in the American city. U.S.: Crown.Google Scholar
  6. Downs, K., Keating, D., & Kelso, N. V. (2011). Interactive: Mapping the Census. The Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from
  7. Evans, D. N. (2016). The effect of criminal convictions on real estate agent decisions in New York City. Journal of Crime and Justice, 39, 363–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Evans, D. N., & Porter, J. R. (2015). Criminal history and landlord rental decisions: A New York quasi-experimental study. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 11, 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Galgano, S. W. (2009). Barriers to reintegration: An audit study of the impact of race and offender status on employment opportunities for women. Social Thought & Research, 30, 21–37.Google Scholar
  10. Garland, B., Wodahl, E. J., & Mayfield, J. (2010). Prisoner reentry in a small metropolitan community: Obstacles and policy recommendations. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 22, 90–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Helfgott, J. (1997). Ex-offender needs versus community opportunity in Seattle, Washington. Federal Probation, 61, 12–24.Google Scholar
  12. Hirschfield, P. J., & Piquero, A. R. (2010). Normalization and legitimation: Modeling stigmatizing attitudes toward ex-offenders. Criminology, 48, 27–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kurlychek, M. C., Brame, R., & Bushway, S. D. (2006). Scarlet letters and recidivism: Does an old criminal record predict future offending? Criminology & Public Policy, 5, 483–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kurlychek, M. C., Bushway, S. D., & Brame, R. (2012). Long-term crime desistance and recidivism patterns – Evidence from the Essex County convicted felon study. Criminology, 50, 71–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. La Vigne, N. G., Thomson, G. L., Visher, C., Kachnowski, V. & Travis, J. (2003). A portrait of prisoner reentry in Ohio. Urban Institute. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from
  16. Leasure, P., & Stevens Andersen, T. (2016). The effectiveness of certificates of relief as collateral consequence relief mechanisms: An experimental study. Yale Law and Policy Review Inter Alia, 35, 11–22.Google Scholar
  17. Leasure, P., & Stevens Andersen, T. (2017). Recognizing redemption: Old criminal records and employment outcomes. The Harbinger: New York University Review of Law and Social Change (in press).Google Scholar
  18. Legal Action Center. (2016). Helping moms, dads, and kids to come home: Eliminating barriers to housing for people with criminal records. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from
  19. Louviere, J. J., Hensher, D. A., & Swait, J. D. (2000). Stated choice methods: Analysis and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McFadden, D. (1979). Quantitative methods for analysing travel behavior of individuals: Some recent developments. In D. A. Hensher & P. R. Stopher (Eds.), Behavioural travel modelling (pp. 279–318). London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  21. O’Brien, P. (2001). “just like baking a cake”: Women describe the necessary ingredients for successful reentry after incarceration. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 82, 287–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. (2016). Fiscal year 2016 commitment report. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from
  23. Ohio Revised Code 2953.25 Certificate of qualification for employment for persons subject to collateral sanctions.
  24. Ortiz, N. R. (2014). The gendering of criminal stigma: An experiment testing the effects of race/ethnicity and incarceration on women’s entry-level job prospects. Dissertation, Arizona State University.Google Scholar
  25. Pager, D. (2003). The mark of a criminal record. American Journal of Sociology, 108, 937–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pager, D. (2007). The use of field experiments for studies of employment discrimination: Contributions, critiques, and directions for the future. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 609, 104–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pager, D., & Shepherd, H. (2008). The sociology of discrimination: Racial discrimination in employment, housing, credit and consumer markets. Annual Review of Sociology, 34, 181–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pager, D., Western, B., & Bonikowski, B. (2009). Discrimination in a low-wage labor market a field experiment. American Sociological Review, 74, 777–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pendall, R. & Hedman, C. (2015). Worlds apart: Inequality between America’s most and least affluent neighborhoods. Urban Land Institute. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from
  30. Price, R. (2015). Neighborhood inequality particularly profound in Columbus area. Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from
  31. Roman, C. G. & Travis, J. (2004). Taking stock: Housing, homelessness, and prisoner reentry. The Urban Institute. Retrieved January 23, 2017 from
  32. Thacher, D. (2008). The rise of criminal background screening in rental housing. Law & Social Inquiry, 33, 5–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Uggen, C., Vuolo, M., Lageson, S., Ruhland, E., & Whitham, H. K. (2014). The edge of stigma: An experimental audit of the effects of low-level criminal records on employment. Criminology, 52, 627–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations