Nature spoke to three US researchers who went from prison to PhD programs to senior posts in academia, and who now aim to help others to find their academic footing.
“When someone cannot get their foot in the door to compete for a job, it is bad for business and bad for communities that need access to economic opportunity,” said JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in a press release.
Licensing boards in Rhode Island can withhold licenses for crimes committed decades ago, by citing a requirement that people display “good moral character,” without taking into account individual circumstances or efforts toward rehabilitation.
On July 1, 2019, Gov. Tom Wolf signed HB 1172 which makes Pennsylvania the second state to recognize out-of-state licenses.
The Administrative Office of the Courts identifies eligible cases and notifies the Department of Public Safety to expunge records. The office estimates about 30,000 cases will be eligible each year.
Amelia Stem began preparing for her impending freedom by moving into a specialized unit in the prison annex where inmates begin to ease into life on the outside, learning how to manage a budget, hold down a job and pick “free-world clothes” for work.
Parole officers work with the state’s Department of Workforce Development to ensure inmates receive job training during their incarceration. Classes include manufacturing, welding, computer coding and automotive technology. The state’s Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry program helped more than 1,000 people find jobs last year.
The First Step Act ostensibly acknowledges the difficulties with maintaining economic stability that many, if not most, of those who come into contact with the criminal justice system face. However, the depth and persistence of these difficulties demands more robust reentry measures than those currently provided by the First Step Act.
“People that are healthy are more likely to be able to find work,” said Tom Betti, press secretary for the Ohio Department of Medicaid. “In the long run that saves taxpayer dollars. They are healthier, employed and not reincarcerated.”
“Essentially what we’re doing is reducing prison recidivism and increasing the likelihood of a more productive, healthier lifestyle for returning citizens,” said Aris Mangasarian, who is majoring in psychology. “We’re using higher education as a bridge between incarceration and successful reentry into the community.”
According to the Alliance for a Just Society, on average, states have 56 occupational licensing and 43 business licensing laws that ban applicants with felony convictions.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2138, making California the twelfth state this year to enact occupational licensing reform. This flurry of legislation will make it easier for people with a criminal record to obtain occupational and professional licenses.
This video from Employ Milwaukee in Wisconsin highlights the partnership between corrections and workforce systems to improve employment outcomes in the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin area and includes interviews with subject matter experts, an employer, and people who secured employment after incarceration with the aid of Employ Milwaukee.
The Heights By Alessandro Zenati Outside the double doors of an atrium leading to Google’s Cambridge headquarters, in the center of the MIT academic nucleus, the sounds of derailleurs clicking into gear and handlebar bells ringing signal an encouraging transition […]
Snyder, who announced the changes and issued an executive directive on Friday, said the box is being replaced with a statement by which applicants can affirm their good character. He encouraged private employers to also remove the checkbox, so people are not automatically disqualified or are discouraged from applying in the first place.
We have found that inmates too often do not have fundamental knowledge, skills or experience to face the complex financial realities of life. Upon reentry into society, too often they repeat poor financial decisions that helped put them on the path to incarceration.
Crops tended by Scott County Detention Center inmates help offset the facility’s operating costs, but gardening also helps the detainees’ personal growth, jail officials said. The garden has provided around 770 pounds of food to the inmates this year while extras go to charities.
According to the Prince William County Office of Criminal Justice Services’ 2017 Annual Report, the average pretrial daily case load increased from 352 in 2015 to 507 in 2017, saving the jail 56,894 jail bed days. And the successful compliance rates increased from 84 percent in 2015 to 89 percent in 2017.
Turning Leaf’s model—which has few counterparts, according to a survey of experts and of comparable programs on the National Reentry Resource Center’s website—is to pay formerly incarcerated people to take at least 150 hours of cognitive behavioral therapy, a “dosage” that research shows patients need in order to change a habit.
Research has found that employment can break the cycle of crime, strengthen families, and produce better workers. A job provides dignity and offers hope to communities that continue to suffer from high levels of poverty and crime. And it boosts businesses that serve these neighborhoods and have a void of skilled workers.