The Rise of Criminal Background Screening in Rental Housing

The carceral state works with the private sector to carry out the work of social control, extending risk-based logics far beyond prison walls. This article provides a historical account of how criminal background screening became a prominent decision-making tool for landlords. The author argues that while punitive attitudes certainly help to motivate the exclusion of people with criminal records, this exclusion wouldn’t be possible without the institutional capacity provided by the private sector.


Thacher, D. (2008). The Rise of Criminal Background Screening in Rental Housing. Law & Social Inquiry, 33(1), 5–30. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-4469.2008.00092.x

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Open Access Source: https://booksc.org/book/10124090/dbbbeb

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