Conceptualization of an Ex-Offender

Topics: African American, Racism, Racial segregation Pages: 10 (3411 words) Published: June 12, 2013
Conceptualization of African American Ex-Offenders and Job Placement

Conceptualization of African American Ex-Offenders and Job Placement

"For nearly forty years, the United States has been gripped by policies that have placed more than 2.5 million Americans in jails and prisons designed to hold a fraction of that number of inmates. Our prisons are not only vast and overcrowded, they are degrading—relying on racist gangs, lockdowns, and Supermax-style segregation units to maintain a tenuous order. In short, mass incarceration has proven to be a fiscal and penological disaster. (Simon, J. 2012).” Currently the United States is experiencing the tremendous fiscal impact of mass incarceration policies that have been in place since the 1990’s. According to research done by Clunis (2011) more than seven million people are under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system in the U.S. It is estimated that approximately 735,000 ex-offenders return home every year. Despite the flooding of ex-offenders that are released annually, the U.S. continues to neglect the need for reentry policies that would prepare both communities and the ex-offenders for a return to civil society. Specifically the incarceration rate reported by Clunis (2011) for Black males is seven times that of white males. Thus, an unequal number of ex-offenders returning home from prison each year are Black males. Ex-offenders face a plethora of barriers to successful reentry. However, the biggest challenge for this population is obtaining employment that pays a livable wage. Historically, African Americans have been a suppressed population. Beginning as an enslaved people and on into the 21st century, they have continually had to fight for equal rights, as well as combat issues of segregation and inequality within societal, academic, and employment circles - all of which help maintain barriers to equal opportunity and success. In 1990, the African American population represented about 13 percent of the U.S. population and 29 percent of the poor. Structural discrimination in housing, education, and employment interlock and make it more difficult to rise above poverty (McFate, 1995). However, discrimination and stereotypes in education discourage many from obtaining the credentials and skills to get good jobs. Discrimination in housing confines African Americans to school districts providing substandard education, perpetuating the circle of barriers to self-determination (Laseter, 1997). Residential segregation becomes even more problematic when African Americans are concentrated in occupational regions that have suffered heavy job losses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 was incarcerated, by far the largest racial or ethnic group—by comparison, 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men in that same age group were incarcerated. According to a report by the Justice Policy Institute in 2002, the number of black men in prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty years ago. Today, more African-American men are in jail than in college (Western, Schiraldi, & Ziedenberg, 2003). In 2000 there were 791,600 black men in prison and 603,032 enrolled in college. In 1980, there were 143,000 black men in prison and 463,700 enrolled in college. Schiraldi & Ziedenberg (2002) highlight the rising impact of prison on young African American men with little schooling, evidenced by an astounding 52% of African American male high school drop outs having prison records by their early thirties in 1999. The link between education, employment, and criminal activity, therefore becomes evidently clearer. For decades African Americans, women, and many minorities were excluded from participating in most of the desirable jobs and institutions. Even when declared unconstitutional, the discrimination against minority groups often persisted (Beauchamp &...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Recidivism Prison and Ex-offenders Essay
  • Offender Essay
  • Housing Ex-offenders Research Paper
  • Employment Barriers of Ex Offenders Essay
  • Sample Case Conceptualization Essay
  • Nonviolent Offenders Essay
  • Young offenders Essay
  • Essay about Ex-Offenders The Struggle Outside of Prison

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free