WASHINGTON — A new report by a nonprofit says that almost half of Washington residents with a criminal past may be unemployed.

The report being released Thursday by the Council for Court Excellence in Washington finds in a survey of 550 previously incarcerated individuals that 46 percent were unemployed. That’s significantly higher than the city’s overall 11 percent unemployment rate.

The group says research has shown that having a job makes a person less likely to return to crime and recommends a series of steps lawmakers should take to boost employment for former inmates.

Those recommendations include giving inmates who have completed their sentences a certificate of good standing and passing a law to protect businesses that hire former prisoners from lawsuits.