Hope 2 Hire Blog / June 21, 2019
How to change your perception of recently incarcerated persons
According to the NAACP, more than 2 million people are incarcerated in the United States, making up roughly 21 percent of the world’s prison population. Unfortunately, there are still stereotypes associated with prisoners and previously incarcerated individuals. For example, a study conducted by Kimberly MacLin and Vivian Herrera in 2006 for the North American Journal of Psychology found one of the words most commonly associated with the word “criminal” was the word “bad.”
Because of this stigma, any type of crime – violent or nonviolent – can affect a previously incarcerated person’s ability to obtain meaningful employment after release. Prisonpolicy.org states that 451,000 people are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses any given day. This type of crime doesn’t affect a person’s ability to perform necessary job functions. Some of these crimes are a symptom of addiction which, once treated, can change how a person behaves.
Even still, stereotypes held by uninformed employers put recently incarcerated individuals at a disadvantage when seeking employment. Stability in housing, transportation and work are key to prevent recidivism, and without a stable income, maintaining housing and transportation is a challenge. For some people, it’s easy to fall into old habits – Simmons University states that within three years of incarceration, 67.8 percent of ex-offenders are rearrested, and within five years, that number increases to 76.6 percent.
What can be done to break down these stereotypes and change perceptions of recently incarcerated persons?
At Hope 2 Hire, we believe that the best way to break this misconception is through action. It is our mission to provide support through mentorships and job training that places recently incarcerated persons in employment that offers a sustainable quality of life. By providing these individuals with the tools necessary to maintain steady and meaningful employment, we’re working to break the cycle of recidivism. We also believe in the importance of relationships. We work with our students to create personal connections with employers. This works to break the stigma surrounding incarcerated individuals, allows our students to get to know people and encourages our employers to give second chances.
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