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Invisible bars

The impact of having a criminal record on young adults’ position in the labour market

Invisible bars
  • Year of publication 2017
  • 270 pages
Author:Elina van ’t Zand-Kurtovic
Series:Willem Pompe Instituut (volume 88)
Category: Criminology General
Icon_printbook 978‐94‐6236‐772‐2 | paperback | 1st edition | € 62,50 / $ 88,50 / £ 54,50
Icon_ebook 978‐94‐6274‐775‐3 | ebook | € 59,00 / $ 88,50 / £ 54,50

The emergence of a culture of control has led to rapid growth in the use of criminal-record screening in many Western-European societies over the last two decades. In the Netherlands, the number of screenings performed each year skyrocketed to almost one million. It is, therefore, salient that qualitative empirical evidence on the effects of criminal record-based employment restrictions is still absent. Invisible bars aims to fill this gap: it is designed to provide a subjective perspective of how having a criminal record impacts the process of re-entry into society, particularly into the labour market, for young adults. This study is based on the lived experiences of 31 young adults having a criminal record, aged between 16 and 30, who were followed during their process of reintegration into the labour market for average periods of six to eighteen months. In addition, interviews with professionals and parents involved in their re-entry process offer in-depth insight in this process. These actual experiences provide a thorough understanding of how crime, employment and reintegration are related. By offering vivid, real-life stories of young adults’ strategies of dealing with the stigma of a criminal record, and how this subsequently influences their position in the labour market, this book will make it impossible to ignore the counterproductive effects of increasingly widespread criminal-record screening.

Author's information

Elina van 't Zand-Kurtovic is both a criminologist and a lawyer. She has carried out this research project at the Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology at Utrecht University. At the same time, she worked as legal practitioner at Van Oosten Lawyers in Amsterdam, specialising in certificate of conduct cases. Currently she works as Assistant Professor in Criminology at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University.