Document Type



Thesis Committee Chair: Beck M. Strah, Ph.D.


Formerly incarcerated persons face many barriers upon being released from prison–one of which is gaining employment. Obtaining a job can be difficult due to employers’ perceived employability of those who have been involved in the justice system. Organizational and personal characteristics of employers have been found in previous research to impact how likely an employer is to hire formerly incarcerated individuals. This thesis examines how stigma surrounding formerly incarcerated persons is perceived by employers through quantitatively examining employer demographics and their willingness to hire these individuals. This study used a mixed-model randomized sampling method for surveying employers in Bristol, Central Falls, East Providence, and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Bivariate analyses were used to investigate the research questions, including Pearson’s Correlations and Independent Samples T-Tests. Significant results are found for employer age, gender, education level, experience hiring former offenders, and working for companies without policies against hiring former offenders. Policy, training, and research implications are discussed.