This seminar will examine the everlasting effects of criminal records, as well as ongoing and emerging efforts to assist individuals move past their records. Among the topics the course will explore are the prevalence of criminal records in the U.S. (approximately 65 million individuals in the U.S. have a record); the legal and non-legal (i.e. stigma) effects of any type of criminal record (felony/misdemeanor convictions as well as non-convictions), the expanding accessibility of criminal records to the public (i.e., internet) and the racial impact of criminal records. There will be particular focus on employment-related obstacles and issues, including criminal record background checks (i.e., problems with inaccurate background checks), employer policies that prohibit hiring individuals with criminal records, and the racially disproportionate impact of these employer policies. The course will then examine potential remedies, including laws that limit access to criminal records in varying degrees (i.e., expungement and shielding laws) and for particular purposes (i.e., ban-the-box laws that are specific to employment); and laws and other enforcement mechanisms that protect against unlawful employment-related practices (i.e., the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is being used to protect against inaccurate background checks, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionís Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of criminal records). Students will write papers that examine these issues. The papers written may be used to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement with the prior permission of the professor.
Current & Previous Instructors:
|This course is not currently scheduled.|
Last offered Fall 2014.