“Work Your Story”: Selective Voluntary Disclosure, Stigma Management, and Seeking Employment....

Cities in the U.S. and Canada should adopt 'Selective, Voluntary Disclosure' (SVD) practices, which treat sharing of criminal record information as something that is inherently personal and therefore must be treated with respect, regulation and careful consideration. This Canadian qualitative study uses interviews with 40 formerly incarcerated people in the Toronto area to inform how people navigate disclosing their criminal record when applying for jobs and what that indicates about their sense of self. The author categorizes the three strategies used as different types of 'selective disclosure', all following an overarching theme of efforts to maintain dignity and autonomy through resisting stigmatization. The aim of SVD is to make discrimination based on criminal record the exception, rather than the norm.


Goodman, P. (2020). “Work Your Story”: Selective Voluntary Disclosure, Stigma Management, and Narratives of Seeking Employment After Prison. Law & Social Inquiry, 45(4), 1113–1141. https://doi.org/10.1017/lsi.2020.9

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