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Ex-Offenders and Employment: How The Pandemic Increased Their Barriers To Entry

The jobs available to ex-offenders in this time are often low-paying, but they are necessary for their reintegration into society. Alice had to leave her last job after her back issues made it hard for her to function in a physically taxing environment, but she immediately set out to look for a new job in fear that the lack of routine would lead her back to her old habits.

Over the years, Alice says she has met many ex-offenders who do not have the same mental strength and persistence as her. 

“Some of my past inmates say that society doesn’t accept them so they have no chance at finding a job. They keep going in and out of prison. They treat it like a shelter, a home,” she explains.

“I asked them if they were tired of being in jail for so long, but they said that they were used to it already. They had their friends, and free food.”

The barriers to entry and heightened anxieties of stepping into a changed world can be overwhelming for many, leading them to retreat to their ‘comfort zone’—prison. But with the right support and resilience, many individuals manage to successfully reintegrate. 

“With my past, I always feel out of place. I am back, but even months later, I feel judged. I feel like I’m always being looked down on,” Safari admits. 

Joey shared that because many ex-offenders feel like they are constantly being judged, all it takes is one scolding from a manager, or to be treated badly by one customer, for them to want to misbehave or quit. 

“On top of that, society often overlooks the issues they have,” Joey adds. 

“For example, if an ex-offender doesn’t perform at work, it’s easy to say he doesn’t want to try his best or help himself. But often, there are underlying issues—he may have 5 kids at home to take care of, medical issues, ageing parents, a low-income household. He may be learning how to adapt to new technologies. It takes time to take back control of such situations after coming out of prison.” 

Source: MSN | World News

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