Employment Barriers of Ex Offenders
CJ 483 Prisoner Re-Entry
Jackson State University
Finding Employment quickly is a priority for individuals leaving prison, and is usually mandated as a parole requirement. Ex offenders often require some flexibility in their jobs, in order to meet court ordered or parole mandates, such as drug counseling, and therapy, and to meet regularly with their parole officers. Returning prisoners also enter a competitive labor market with a combination of literacy problems, limited skills, and limited experience . Therefore they have limited access to job offering career ladders, mobility, training, or a job security. The lowest paying, lowest skilled jobs are the easiest to secure. Many make what they can of these opportunities because need to work to meet the obligations of their release.
An ex offender is a person who has been convicted of criminal offense and has completed their sentence either in prison or in the community. Over 600,000 people are being released from prisons each year. Many suffer from various of serious difficulties as they attempt to reenter society. Among the most challenging situations they face is that of reentry in the labor market. Employment can be called a cornerstone of successful supervision. Employment for offenders reduces recidivism. It has been shown to be an important factor in reintegration, especially for men over the age of 27 years of age who characterize most individuals released from prison. Offenders reentering the community have a better chance if they are given enough support to stay out of trouble for the first 6 months following release. Offenders are destined for minimum wage, unskilled, menial jobs. Lack of education and job skills are the primary reasons, but the problem goes beyond that. Criminal convictions stigmatize offenders, directly limiting their future work opportunities and consequently encouraging them to return to crime for a source of income. Not only is it the predominant community attitude against knowingly hiring individuals with felony convictions, but strictly enforced laws prohibits licensing of such persons in many occupations. When you help offenders improve themselves and develop a sense of responsibility and self-esteem, employment opportunities will become more readily available A barrier is something that makes it more difficult for a person to job search or successfully complete the hiring process. Employment fills a vital need for most individuals; it provides income, social connection, and feelings, of societal contribution and self worth. For ex offenders returning to the community after a period of incarcerations, employment can make the difference between succeeding and returning to prison. (ISEEK) There are a numerous myths and truths with employing ex offenders:
Myth: Ex offenders are only capable of doing manual or repetitive work Truth: Ex offenders represent a cross section of workforce. Many of them have valuable, in demand skills and qualifications Myth: Ex offenders are not educated
Truth: Nearly one in three have graduated from high school and or college Myth: Ex offenders are unreliable
Truth: Ex offenders are as reliable as other workers.
Myth: Once a criminal, always a criminal
Truth: Ex offenders cannot prove themselves unless someone gives them a second chance Myth: Someone will always have to watch over an ex offender
Truth: Ex offenders are people who paid the price for their crime and most of them want to make a fresh start. Ex offenders do not require extra supervision on the job Myth: Other employees will not want to work with them
Truth: There is no need for employees other than line managers to know of the employee’s past Myth: The existence of a criminal conviction is an indication of being trustworthy Truth: Many people assume that ex offenders have basic character flaw that is not found...