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The effects of race and criminal history on landlords' (un)willingness to rent to exonerees.
Law and Human Behavior  (IF3.795),  Pub Date : 2020-08-01, DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000419
Lesley Zannella,Kimberley Clow,Emma Rempel,Leah Hamovitch,Victoria Hall

OBJECTIVE When wrongfully convicted individuals are released from prison, at first glance, it is a triumph; however, anecdotal evidence from exonerees suggests that obtaining housing postrelease is often challenging. We empirically examined whether race (Study 1) or type of criminal offense (Study 2) influenced landlords' willingness to rent to exonerees compared to releasees (i.e., rightfully convicted individuals released from prison) and control (i.e., members of the public). HYPOTHESES We hypothesized that: (a) exonerees and releasees would receive fewer replies and fewer "yes" available responses compared to control, (b) Indigenous and Black renters would receive fewer replies and fewer "yes" available responses compared to White renters, and (c) individuals convicted of murder would receive fewer replies and fewer "yes" available responses compared to individuals convicted of robbery. METHOD The authors responded to online apartment listings across Canada (Study 1) and in Toronto (Study 2) inquiring about unit availability. All rental inquiries were identical with the exception of criminal status and race (Study 1), and criminal status and criminal offense (Study 2). RESULTS Results demonstrated that landlords were significantly less likely to respond (Study 1: OR = 4.32, 95% CI [3.28, 5.69]; Study 2: OR = 7.88, 95% CI [4.97, 12.48]), and indicate availability (Study 1: OR = 6.62, 95% CI [3.54, 12.38]; Study 2: OR = 21.53, 95% CI [7.07, 65.58]), to rental inquiries from exonerees and releasees compared to members of the public. For race, landlords were significantly less likely to respond to inquiries from Indigenous and Black renters compared to White renters (OR = 1.45, 95% CI [1.12, 1.86]), and those convicted of robbery compared to murder (OR = 1.69, 95% CI [.36, .97]). CONCLUSION The barriers that exonerees face when attempting to secure housing postrelease are potentially as great as those facing releasees; however, exonerees do not receive assistance with reentry. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).