Women after Incarceration: Reentering Workforce

It is not a secret that for a person that came out of prison, it is always quite difficult to adapt to the society and find their place in life due to the special negative environment in prisons. Long-term physical isolation often brings back into society embittered, mentally ill and unbalanced people with high delinquency capabilities. However, no matter how complex the consequences may be, previously incarcerated people are open to making their own choices about their future life. Therefore, having violated the law, from the very commencement of the sentence, the inmates should imagine what awaits them after their release and make every effort to preserve and strengthen the ties with the family, the labor collective and friends. Nevertheless, it seems that the point of gender inequalities should be applied in this particular context as the usual misconceptions assume that it is more difficult for a woman to find a job after prison and adjust to the usual working environment. Although the research shows that imprisonment is not directly related to the possible decrease in employment rates of former female prisoners, the pre-prison background is usually associated with the future employment prospects of previously incarcerated women.

Implications for African-American Women

It is worth pointing out that women different in color or ethnicity are oftentimes more exposed to the negative consequences of incarceration. Negative consequences of incarceration imply the inability of the government to support a person released from jail. Cox  has conducted a research that explores this particular matter through the prism of employment, family relationships and health of Black women released from prison. It seems that the researcher shares the views of Richie, illustrating previous background of women as a factor that has a negative influence on the future job prospects. Cox believes that incarceration can cause a deterioration of human capital and an increase in criminal capital, which cannot be denied. The underlying deterioration can affect the ability to find a job, adequate for a living. The researcher suggests that Black women in particular have the lowest percentage of positive responses or affirmative reactions to their job applications. However, this problem actually occurs due to the discrimination issues, while incarceration does not seem to be the most influential factor.

Potential Solutions and Recommendations

Undoubtedly, imprisonment affects the destiny of a woman in a negative way. Although returning to normal life is an option that every woman can take, females may encounter some obstacles on their way to successful adaptation, socialization, and employment. Great inner strength and strong-willed character is needed to start all over again and achieve success. Not surprisingly, a woman leaving the place of detention, experiences mixed feelings. On the one hand, there is a sense of lightness, freedom, and on the other, a huge fear of the unknown. Society is not usually willing to accept former prisoners because of the offenses. These people are doomed to be misunderstood by others. They can be exposed to certain barriers and dead ends in their future life. It will be difficult to arrange personal life, find a job, and erase criminal past. The label of former prisoner will interfere with a new life.

To be more explicit, it is reasonable to take into account all the above-mentioned findings from the literature review and integrate them into future recommendations. Firstly, a former prisoner should remember that it is her own responsibility to maintain future order that leads to success. There can be no doubt in the assumption that a woman should think about her future release and potential employment prospects immediately. If poverty is the general reason for fear after the release, a woman should address this problem by applying for in-prison educational programs and jobs. Since gender inequality as well as racial discrimination still predominate in the U. S. society, a Black woman should be aware of the potential danger that expects her after the imprisonment and do all she can to avoid it.

As it has already been mentioned, former prisoners can be marked with lower intellectual capital. Therefore, the first possible solution that comes to mind is to raise this problem to the governmental consideration. Undoubtedly, one method to combat some of the attrition of human capital is to provide the offender with work opportunities, vocational programs, and educational programs while incarcerated. Not surprisingly, the role of prison is to prepare an inmate for a future life free from any offenses. However, if the government cannot ensure the future employment of the formerly imprisoned person, the crime rates will increase. Thus, prison should be the setting where educational programs and training modules are applied.

However, it seems that educational programs are still not enough to improve the situation. A former prisoner should be offered the sum of money that will guarantee a successful start-up. The first difficulty for a person that once broke the law is not to do the same again. Possibly, the expected sum of money can serve as the basis for a new life. In addition, in this most difficult period, the support of relatives and friends is crucial. It is necessary to overcome the feelings of doom, worthlessness and get psychological help that can help to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. One should try to find a job, even the simplest one, to get the confidence to become a full member of society. Usually, it takes a long time to disengage from life in prison and adapt to the environment. Being released to freedom, it is necessary to articulate one’s goals, think about what to do next and how to keep on track.

Any connections and relationships with the criminal records should be abandoned as such friendships only damage the start a new life in freedom. Former prisoners should be motivated to take decisive actions. The following goals should be achieved: to get education, to achieve professional success, start a family, and build relationships with the family. Everything possible should be done to achieve well-desired effects. In addition, a former female prisoner should not be afraid to ask for help. There are special rehabilitation centers, which are aimed at the development of motivation to live on in people who have lost the meaning of life and faith in themselves. It is also worth mentioning that there are organizations and people willing to help previously incarcerated.

 

In conclusion, the research has shown that incarceration does not bear direct links to the decrease in the future employment rates. Otherwise, prison settings can encourage women to change their lifestyles and abandon detrimental relationships that resulted in imprisonment. However, the problem that has arisen in this context is the background of incarcerated women and their color/ ethnicity. It seems that discrimination, gender and racial factors are to blame for the absence of affirmative reactions to the job applications. Strangely enough, incarceration can result in increased employment rates for women. However, its influence on the employment rates does not seem to be tremendous as women usually come back to their ordinary previous environments. To overcome the difficulties, it is reasonable to address these problems beforehand, while the woman is still in prison. Educational programs can be very helpful in this procedure. Therefore, as incarceration is not directly linked to the problems that may influence economic stability, the answers concerning the possible decreased employment opportunities for former female prisoners should be found elsewhere.