Criminalization, social exclusion, and access to employment

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This chapter provides a critical analysis of the impact of criminalization practices on access to employment in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. As increasing numbers of citizens are subject to criminal conviction, often the very ones who have already experienced social and economic disadvantage, this can create a further barrier to labour market participation and to full integration into society. Thus, the criminal law can be instrumental in creating a stratified precariat based upon ‘discreditable’ statuses, creating structural traps in forms of employment with poor conditions and prospects. The chapter explores the ways in which labour laws may on the one hand aggravate this form of social exclusion, or may on the other hand relieve such social exclusion by allowing past criminal convictions eventually to be concealed and forgotten. The chapter’s normative concern is to find the right balance in this respect between, on the one hand, the necessary safeguarding of the employing enterprise, its workers and the recipients of its services, and, on the other hand, the maximizing of the possibility of rehabilitation into society of those with criminal convictions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCriminality at Work
EditorsAlan Bogg, Jennifer Collins, Mark Freedland, Jonathan Herring
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780198836995
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • employment
  • access to employment
  • criminal record
  • labour market participation
  • criminal convictions
  • reintegration
  • labour laws
  • social exclusion

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