Barriers to Successful Reentry & Self-Sufficiency
Although there are many barriers that limit the successful reintegration of individuals with criminal records within their communities such as mental illness, substance abuse, lack of education and being banned from receiving certain community resources such as a food stamps, the two biggest barriers to a successful reentry for them are employment and housing.
Lack of Employment
Do you know that a criminal record reduces an applicant’s chance of being called for an interview by 50% and that, in comparison to 51% in 1996, 93% of employers today perform background checks on their applicants? Often times, despite having an abundance of skills or work experience AND having refrained from criminal activity, many employers still refuse to hire exoffenders.
Employment rates and earnings of individuals with criminal records are low by almost any standard. Low employment rates are closely related to the very high recidivism rates observed among those released from prison. The difficulties of getting a job may be further reinforced by correctional supervision stipulations such as being restricted from moving elsewhere to seek employment or by laws that may prohibit them from obtaining a driver’s license.
If they ARE able to find a job, it is more than likely one with very low wage and provide few to none benefits or opportunities for advancement. In these circumstances, many individuals with criminal records may not keep the jobs long or may simply choose to forego these employment options in favor of illegal opportunities that can get them more money faster.
Want to read the full report “Employment Barriers Facing Ex-Offenders?”please click the following link: http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/410855_holzer.pdf
Lack of Housing
Almost 25% of people in prison are released to homelessness. Many who are released from prison do not have the support of their families or access to community resources and often have to result to living on the streets or in homeless shelters.
98% of housing is private and most landlords discriminate against individuals with criminal records even if their criminal history is irrelevant to housing offenses such as destruction of property, arson, etc.
Lack of Moral Support
Be sure to recognize and encourage those who have made positive changes within their lives and commend them on their efforts to make better choices and refraining from criminal behavior. When you see an individual who has made genuine efforts to refrain from crime by changing their behavior, their associates, actively seek employment and/or further their education, please encourage them to continue on the right path and let them know that their progression is NOT going unnoticed.