Employment Barriers of Ex Offenders sample essay
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 in the normal population. Myth: Our company policy excludes ex offenders because of the type of work involved or legal restrictions. Truth: It is common misunderstanding those certain professions and certifications bar people with criminal records, just to name a few.
Ex offenders have a variety of characteristics that greatly limits their employability and earnings which include limited education and cognitive skills, limited work experience, and substance abuse and other physical and mental health problems. Ex offenders face significant barriers to employment after release from prison. Barriers include employer attitudes towards individuals with criminal records, legal barriers, educational and financial obstacles, substance abuse and health issues, and lack of stable housing.
The work experience that they had accumulated prior to incarceration was generally well below what it might have been in the absence of their participation in crime On top of that periods of time they have spent incarcerated have impeded them from gaining any additional private sector experience, an no doubt help erode whatever job skills, positive work habits or connections to employers they might have had beforehand. Thus, if and when they do attempt to reenter the labor market after incarceration, the poor skills and very limited work experience that they bring with them limits both employability and earnings potential.
Most offenders reenter the outside world with little other than $ 40 of gate money or no money, no housing, no credit, no transportation, no driver’s license, no documents, no insurance, and no appropriate clothes for job interviewing and work settings. They also have limited access to health care services. Finding a job is difficult when you’re struggling to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. Many community based organization and support groups, such as Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, churches and other nonprofit organization, assist offenders with such basic needs. Ron 2005) A large fraction of these men suffer from substance abuse and other health problems. Among the small fractions of ex offenders who are women, numbers suffer from depression and or past sexual abuse. All of these factors limits employability because they limit the basic job readiness that employers almost universally seek as a pre-condition for employment. Besides these skills and health problems, most ex offenders are minorities, nearly half are African American, an nearly a fifth are Latino and Asian.
To the extent that minorities continue to suffer labor market discrimination, this will further impede the ability of ex offenders to gain employment or earn higher wages. Most return to low income and predominantly minority communities that have relatively few unskilled jobs, and to peer groups who presumably provide relatively a few contacts to the world of legitimate work. (H. J. Holzer 2003) In addition to the barriers these individuals face have little control, the attitudes and choices that they make may also limit their employment outcomes.
After months and possibly years of incarceration, few ex offenders reenter society with a positive I can do it attitude. Many feel worthless, hopeless, and unwanted. Their negative attitudes are obvious to family members, friends, and employers. These attitudes affect their motivation to take action that lead to success in finding a job. They are filled with anxiety and uncertainty, uncertainty of how people will receive them, uncertain about their families, uncertain about their housing and financial situations, uncertain whether or not they will find a job, succeed on the outside or become another recidivism statistic.
Ex offenders is a significant group in the labor market. It has been estimated that they constitute up to one third of the working population. At least 90 per cent of those leaving prison enter unemployment and they comprise between 2 and 3 percent of the average monthly in flow to the unemployment pool. Ex offenders re substantially more likely to remain unemployed in the long term rather taking a number of short term jobs. It is likely that a large number of these men might be able to find some kind of work if they search long enough, but at jobs that pay very low wages and provide few benefits or chances for upward mobility.
Many ex offenders may simply choose to forego these employment options, in favor of illegal opportunities or more casual work. They may accept these jobs temporarily, but may not retain them for very long. Their attachments to the legitimate labor market might be quite tenuous over the longer term, both as a result of these relatively unappealing options, or perhaps because of their own estrangement over several years from the world of work. Thus, the limited employment outcomes that ex offenders experience will at least partly reflect barriers, perhaps compounded by their own attitudes towards and response to these circumstances.
The barriers faced by ex offenders because of their very limited skills, poor health, and race or area of residence often reflect a difference between these characteristics and those sought by employers on the demand side of the labor market. Education is often a key to success. It frees offenders from many barriers to employment. Ex offenders tend to have low levels of education, lack many skills associated with better educated people. The poor skills and work experience of most offenders generally conflict with the skills and credentials sought by employers, even when trying to fill relative unskilled jobs.
Those with substance abuse an other health problems are the least likely to be job ready, and will likely face few job offers or high discharge rates upon being hired. (Ron 2005) The federal government, as well as many state and local governments, place special legal restrictions on people with criminal records. Many drug offenders are prohibited from acquiring public housing or receiving other forms of public assistance. While employers cannot discriminate against individuals solely on the basis of their criminal record, they can refuse to hire if they can show that your background will negatively affect their workplace and business.
State and local governments may include additional restrictions on certain opportunities, especially any position that deal with public safety. Finding work can be a challenge for some job seekers with criminal backgrounds. Having a criminal record can undermine employment prospects so that ex offenders are often penalized by the courts and later in the labor market. Having a job is widely recognized by ex offenders and those that work with them as the single most important factor in their resettlement and in preventing reoffending.
It helps to know which barriers might be in the way and how to handle employer attitudes. Employers perform checks to gain additional information about ex offenders and checking seems to have no effect on hiring ex offenders for those employers not legally required to perform checks. Ex offenders looking for work often have a harder time than other job seekers. A felony conviction can be considered a barrier to employment. While employment is critical to ex offenders successful reintegration, prospective employers have their own set of interests when considering whether to hire an ex offender.
Stoll,2008) Most employers are unaware of the tax incentives, bonding programs, and intermediary organizations currently in place to facilitate employment of returning offenders. Early work experience sometimes leads to wage growth over time, though this has not been particularly true among welfare recipients and others. Employers generally seem interested in the support system that seek to bridge the gap between ex offenders and prospective employers, but need to know more about the programs and how they fit with their needs.
Although, many employers like to give a qualified es offender a second chance, they are averse to taking risks that they feel could threaten their workplace or reputation. In spite of the numerous barriers to employment of ex offenders, there is reason for some degree of optimism. Employers who had hired ex offenders reported mostly positive experiences. A great number of employers are reluctant to hire individuals with a past, citing lack of skills and work history, untrustworthiness, and fear of liability for negligent hiring, among other things.
Criminal record information has the potential to present unintended barriers for offenders seeking employment. Across the country, states have provided employers with varying degrees of access to criminal record information on prospective and current employees. Advocates for limiting the availability of criminal record argue that providing such information to employers unfairly discriminates against ex offenders an makes it more difficult for them to obtain employment.
Many employers argue that they should know who their employees are and whether they pose an unnecessary risk to the work place. (Holzer 2003) The United States Congress created two financial incentive programs to benefit employers who hire ex-offenders. One program gives an employer a tax break of $2,400 once an ex-offender has been hired and has worked for a certain number of hours. The other provides fidelity insurance bonds as an incentive to hire an ex-offender who might normally be considered high risk by mainstream insurance companies. These programs are often under-utilized.
As a provider, you should educate your employer contacts about these programs and inform them that the State or your organization can assist them with the paperwork. Some employers have reported that they were “on the fence” about hiring an ex-offender, but the financial incentives “sealed the deal. ” (Stoll 2008) Another program is The Federal Bonding Program issues fidelity bonds which serve as insurance policies for employers. Bonding protects an employer in case of theft, forgery, larceny, or embezzlement of money or property by an employee covered by the bond.
The bond coverage is usually $5,000-$10,000, free for an employer, and good for up to one year. The bond becomes effective the first day of employment. Federal Bonding Program as an employer job-hire incentive that guaranteed the job honesty of at-risk job seekers. Job seekers who have in the past committed a fraudulent or dishonest act, or who have demonstrated other past behaviour casting doubt upon their credibility or honesty, very often are rejected for employment due to their personal backgrounds.
Their past life experience presents an obstacle to their future ability to secure employment. More specifically, employers view these applicants as being “at-risk” and potentially untrustworthy workers. This fear is further heightened by the fact that Fidelity Bond insurance commercially purchased by employers to protect against employee dishonesty usually will not cover at-risk persons because they are designated by insurance companies as being not bondable.
As a result, these job applicants are routinely denied employment. Carter 2007) Ex-offenders, including anyone with a record of arrest, conviction or imprisonment, and anyone who has ever been on probation or parole, are at-risk job applicants. When you combine figures for the US inmate population and the offender population in the free community who are now on probation or parole, the total number of persons under correctional supervision approaches 7 million individuals. More than 600,000 inmates are released from prison or jail annually. Past experiences reveal that 67% of them will be recidivists.
Failure to become employed after release is a major factor contributing to the high rate of recidivism. Having a record of arrest, conviction or imprisonment functions as a significant barrier to employment since employers generally view ex-offenders as potentially untrustworthy workers and insurance companies usually designate ex-offenders as being not bondable for job honesty. (U. S. Department of Justice) There is restriction to the federal bonding program; workers must meet the State’s legal age for working.
The job usually is to be for at least 30 hours per week. Workers must be paid wages with Federal Tax automatically deducted from their pay check. Self employed persons cannot be covered. A total of $5,000. 00 bond coverage is usually issued, with no deductible amount for the employer. The employer gets 100% insurance coverage. Larger bond amounts can be issued if the certified agency issuing the bonds has acquired a special bond package and has determined a larger bond amounts are appropriate.
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