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:

  • Estimating the causal impact of passing a criminal background check (or receiving “clearance” to work) on recidivism
  • Examining decision maker strategies to improve employment opportunities for people with criminal records and balance public safety interests
  • Exploring 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, 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. 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.


Other Events/Projects

In April 2018, I was fortunate to join an excellent roundtable hosted by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center on criminal record barriers to the legal profession, including law school admissions and the moral character requirement for the bar. You can check out some of the Center’s current projects here.