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“Working Around the Law: Navigating Legal Barriers to Good Work with a Criminal Record”

Dallas Augustine, Emerging Scholar Award Winner, PhD Candidate at UC Irvine
Jan 24, 2018 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-800)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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Employment has consistently been cited as one of the most effective protections against recidivism for formerly incarcerated people; however, job seekers with criminal records face barriers to employment after prison, as they are simultaneously compelled to obey the law (by finding “legit” work) but also legally barred from doing so. To navigate this conflictual legal positioning, job seekers with felony records develop strategies of working around the law in order to find employment and fulfill their compounding legal and financial obligations. Through 30 qualitative interviews with formerly incarcerated people with felony records, Dallas Augustine examines the strategies people use to navigate the legal barriers to acquiring long-term, sustainable, on-the-books work. Ultimately, the efforts of formerly incarcerated job seekers to comply with the law (sometimes by employing extra-legal strategies) blur the line between compliance with and defiance of the law.

Dallas Augustine is a doctoral student in the Department of Criminology, LD Augustine Photoaw, and Society at the University of California, Irvine. Dallas' research uses mixed methodology to examine issues of employment at reentry, aiming to identify the ways in which felony records impact formerly incarcerated job seekers' ability to find meaningful work. She is currently working on several research projects including an experimental study of employer hiring decisions for applicants with varying levels of criminal justice involvement, a pilot of an online job club for job seekers on parole, and an analysis of sources of social support during reentry.



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