Case study: How can prison inmates prepare for success?

The big idea:A sizable group of potential workers — former prison inmates — faces challenges in securing employment. Can they overcome the stigma of past errors and skill deficits?

The scenario: John is looking forward to returning to his hometown in April. He worries that while he’s been away, he may have fallen out of step with the technical and real-world skills employers demand. He would like an entry-level job in an athletic apparel store; his long-term goal is to own a retail store.

Over the past 18 months, he’s made great changes in his attitude and outlook. He has picked up important technical classes and worked on his “soft skills” — public speaking and interviewing. John sees his first job as a path to his new career, his redemption. He knows there is another conversation to prepare for: Explaining his felony conviction for drug distribution, and why his past doesn’t define or determine his future.

About 566,000 ex-offenders leave prison and enter parole each year. An estimated 95 percent of the 2.3 million others in prison will eventually return to society. Once released, probation officers will work with them to reintegrate into daily life, to find work and a stable home — not easy steps.

John recognizes that the people who hire entry-level workers worry about the risks of employee turnover, the risks of loss from theft and the comfort of co-workers or customers with any new employee. These uncertainties are balanced against real investments in training. John knows that adding a past crime can tip the balance away from hiring someone who is otherwise qualified. So how can he transition to productive employment and then, ultimately, as an employer, business owner and taxpayer?

Continue Reading @ Washington Post



2 thoughts on “Case study: How can prison inmates prepare for success?

  1. Employers will hire them if they have a proven ability to work 50 or even 60 hours per week while in prison. If the government would eliminate barriers to prison employment, this could happen. The government would eliminate barriers to prison employment if prison industries only made goods now made overseas. Everybody can win! Private employment, negotiated wages below minimum wages, a nest egg for prisoners upon release, and a better private enterprise environment than now provided by the state in prison. Please read, “Prison & Slavery – A Surprising Comparison.”


  2. One of the biggest hurdles besides breaking through the mind set of one’s community is ATTITUDE – that is of the offender. It is difficult enough to deal with the realization that finding employment and often times housing, will be difficult. A positive attitude is paramount in being successful after incarceration, I should know. I spent 2 years behind the fence and after release I was able to obtain employment in the legal field, eventually going to work as a legal assistant for the state that sent me up.


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