Friday, June 20, 2014

The New Scarlet Letter? Negotiating the U.S. Labor Market with a Criminal Record

In 2011, nearly 700,000 people were released from either a state or federal prison. These releases added to the roughly six million adults who have served prison time in the past. Many will experience a host of difficulties upon reentering noninstitutional society. Those with minor children (especially incarcerated men) often accumulate substantial back child-support obligations while incarcerated and face the legal requirement to pay down the balance. Many face precarious housing situations and a high risk of homelessness following release. Most have little in the way of assets and receive a very small amount of “gate money” upon release, usually no more than a few hundred dollars. Many will be returned to custody for either parole violations or a new felony offense.

In light of these problems and the sheer number of individuals released from our prisons each year, policymakers at all levels of government are increasingly focused on how to foster and support the successful reentry of former prison inmates. For a myriad of reasons, stable employment is of central importance to the successful reentry of former inmates into noninstitutionalized society. 

Source: Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

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