Recent Research

I’d be happy to send a copy of an article listed below if you don’t have subscription access or the article is forthcoming; just send me an email (

My recent research has focused on three key areas:

  • The implications of criminal background check decisions
  • Decision maker strategies to improve employment opportunities for people with criminal records and balance public safety interests
  • Public perceptions of criminal records, including testing the impact of using “offender” labels relative to “person-first” descriptions and whether the public supports private companies publishing arrest records

Criminal Background Checks, Employment, and Recidivism

Denver, Megan and Brandon Behlendorf. 2022. Shifting Peaks and Cumulative Consequences: Disqualifying Convictions in High-Security Jobs. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 59(3): 279-326.    [Note: This is a publicly available (open access) article, located here.] 

Denver, Megan, Garima Siwach, and Shawn D. Bushway. 2017. A New Look at the Employment and Recidivism Relationship through the Lens of a Criminal Background Check. Criminology 55(1): 174-204.


Decision Maker Strategies in Occupational Licensing and Criminal Background Check Decisions

Denver, Megan. 2021. Recruitment, Assessment, and Retention in the Direct Care Workforce for Individuals with Criminal Records: A Comprehensive Model Approach. Invited white paper. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.

Denver, Megan. 2020. Criminal Records, Positive Credentials and Recidivism: Incorporating Evidence of Rehabilitation into Criminal Background Check DecisionsCrime & Delinquency 66(2): 194–218.

Denver, Megan and Alec Ewald. 2018. Credentialing Decisions and Criminal Records: A Narrative ApproachCriminology 56(4): 715-749.

Denver, Megan. 2017Evaluating the Impact of “Old” Criminal Conviction Decision Guidelines on Subsequent Employment and Arrest Outcomes.  Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 54(3): 379–408.


Criminal Record Stigma and Public Perceptions

DeWitt, Samuel E. and Megan Denver. 2020. Criminal Records, Positive Employment Credentials and Race. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 57(3): 333-368.

Lehmann, Peter S., Justin T. Pickett, and Megan Denver. 2020. Public Opinion on Criminal Records and Employment: A Test of Competing Theoretical Models. Crime & Delinquency 66(6-7): 995–1022.

Lageson, Sarah, Megan Denver and Justin T. Pickett. 2019.  Privatizing Criminal Stigma: Experience, Intergroup Contact, and Public Views about Publicizing Arrest RecordsPunishment & Society 21(3): 315-41.

Denver, Megan, Justin T. Pickett, and Shawn D. Bushway. 2018. Criminal Records and Employment: A Survey of Experiences and Attitudes in the United States. Justice Quarterly 35(4): 584-613.

Denver, Megan, Justin T. Pickett, and Shawn D. Bushway. 2017. The Language of Stigmatization and the Mark of Violence: Experimental Evidence on the Social Construction and Use of Criminal Record Stigma. Criminology 55(3): 664-90.