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On the OutsidePrisoner Reentry and Reintegration$
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David J. Harding, Jeffrey D. Morenoff, and Jessica J. B. Wyse

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226607504

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226607788.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Finding and Maintaining Employment

Finding and Maintaining Employment

(p.175) Chapter Six Finding and Maintaining Employment
On the Outside

David J. Harding

Jeffrey D. Morenoff

Jessica J. B. Wyse

University of Chicago Press

The formerly incarcerated exhibit very low rates of employment, even many years after their release from prison. Low levels of human capital, distance from jobs, lack of transportation, and the stigma of a felony record explain the challenges of finding work after prison. Those who do find work do so through different strategies; applying for many jobs, leveraging social networks, and deploying cultural capital to counter the felony stigma, but many formerly incarcerated individuals do not have such resources. Their employment is concentrated in a small number of industries associated with the secondary labor market. Informal self employment is a common response. Those who found jobs outside the secondary labor market did so with material and social support from family. Yet employment is low among the formerly incarcerated also because they have high rates of job loss. Job losses stem from individual challenges like health problems, addiction relapse, family caretaking responsibilities, and transportation problems but also due to the nature of a contemporary low-skill labor market where turnover is high due to low wages and benefits few, frequent schedule changes, and abusive bosses.

Keywords:   employment, job loss, stigma, secondary labor market, informal employment, addiction, health, spatial mismatch, health, cultural capital

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