Reentry, Workforce Development, Correctional Education
Incarceration has been an issue nationwide in the United States for decades due to policies from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s that lead to mass increases in incarceration. In the past decade, several states have overhauled their criminal sentencing and prison structure to lower prison populations. This has resulted in the release of thousands of restorative citizens and has expanded the need for reentry services. Released individuals who have been incarcerated face a number of social, political, and economic barriers that prevent them from re-entering society successfully. The inability to obtain employment is often cited as one of the most important factors that contributes to recidivism, which also has negative implications for the general public. This paper examines the barriers that restorative citizens and the social workers who assist them face in helping them find suitable and sustainable employment. The author also highlights workforce instructional methods utilized in the H.I.R.E. program that have been effective in assisting restored citizens in landing job interviews and securing employment. Finally, the author also explores solutions for collaboration across criminal justice and non-profit agencies for the purposes of increasing employment opportunities for restored citizens returning back to the community.
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