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Fostering Equitable Hiring Policies for Individuals with Criminal Records

Innovations from the Yale School of Medicine’s TCN Program

JCOIN Spotlight: Yale School of Medicine Clinical Research Center

For the past fifteen years, the Yale School of Medicine’s Transitions Clinic Network (TCN) has worked with health systems and hospital human resources to change hiring policies around criminal records to ensure this essential workforce is employed in clinical care and research settings. Reentry community health workers (CHWs) across the TCN have co-authored multiple peer-reviewed journals that have made further advances in literature focused on CHWs’ role when working with patients, the importance of CHWs’ professional development, and the invaluable perspective they contribute to research and clinical settings because of their lived experiences related to social inequities and incarceration. The TCN program provides opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment and enhanced primary care for individuals released from incarceration.

Through JCOIN, the TCN: Post Incarceration Addiction Treatment, Healthcare, and Social Support (TCN-PATHS) has had some successes in modifying existing policies to enable the sites to hire individuals with histories of criminal-legal involvement. Additionally, at Yale University, the TCN-PATHS team advised human resources to change university-wide hiring policies to foster more equity and transparency to promote hiring people with criminal records, who are disproportionately from racially minoritized communities. It is now standard practice at Yale for the human resources office to seek input from formerly incarcerated employees and public safety officers when writing hiring policies.

By implementing inclusive hiring policies and procedures, universities and community-based healthcare systems can play a role in reversing the harms of mass incarceration by creating job opportunities and a work environment that empowers people with criminal records to leverage their lived experience of incarceration as an asset for serving patients and building research teams.

Read more to learn about the successes TCN Paths has had through JCOIN.


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