30th November 2022
While data on the number of people with convictions is unavailable in the Republic of Ireland, based on data available in England and Wales, we estimate that approximately 800,000 people in the Republic of Ireland have a criminal conviction(s) (with the significant majority relating to less serious offending) (UNLOCK, 2017). Information on the number of people impacted by previous convictions when accessing employment in Ireland, however, is sparse. In 2019, IPRT carried out a small-scale survey on the impact of convictions with 148 respondents, 81 per cent of whom indicated that having a conviction had a negative impact on “getting a job”. It is hoped that this scoping study will build on that work by including a specific focus on the attitudes of employers. While 2019 research in this area by SOLAS gave us some insights into employer perspectives of hiring people with convictions histories, it was limited in scope (SOLAS, 2019).
IPRT has been awarded funding from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) under the Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme 2022-2023 under Theme A ‘Advancing Greater Economic Equality’, to conduct a small-scale analysis of the attitudes of employers and the experiences of people with convictions in accessing decent work. The aim of the project is to determine the types of barriers that exist for individuals with a criminal conviction in accessing decent and sufficient work and assess the impact that this has on their ability to achieve economic equality. The project will provide up-to-date data on the attitudes of employers toward hiring people with experience of the criminal justice system and/or prison.
IPRT wishes to commission an external consultant to undertake a study on the barriers to employment for individuals with previous convictions and whether they face discrimination in accessing decent and sufficient work which can in turn impact their right to an adequate standard of living and economic equality.
The report arising from the scoping study is expected to include the following:
It is anticipated that engagement with employers and rights-holders will take place through a mixture of surveys and semi-structured interviews.
The successful tenderer will be expected to produce a research report (circa 10-15,000 words), with clear recommendations for addressing the issues identified, by July 2023. The launch of the report will take place in August 2023. The successful tenderer is expected to attend the launch and present the findings of the research, if applicable.
We are grateful to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for supporting this timely piece of work under the Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme 2022-2023.