Jobs The Top Issue In Inmate Re-Entry


At the Montgomery County, Md., Pre-Release Center, director Stefan LoBuglio rejects the philosophy of many prisoner reentry programs–that those released need substantial training, reports Governing magazine. He says: Get a job. Any job that pays. If anger management or substance abuse prevents someone from finding employment, then it needs to be addressed but the job comes first. It's been remarkably effective. More than 85 percent of inmates exit the program with jobs and, for the first time for many, with savings.

With prisoner re-entry, some advocacy groups have focused on attempting to eliminate legal restrictions barring inmates from certain types of jobs, arguing that the stigma of imprisonment needs to be lifted. Others have sought to increase treatment of substance-abuse, involve family members, victims or peers in the reentry, and connect prisoners with faith-based sponsors. The issue that comes up time and again is jobs. “Nothing is conclusive here,” says Kim Hendrickson, who wrote on work-first reentry programs in City Journal. “But there are so many enticing things that point to this as the one thing that cuts recidivism and gets guys back on their feet.”

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