Challenges That Formerly Incarcerated People Have When Job Hunting

Category : Nolef Turns Inc.

For formerly incarcerated people, it has always been difficult to find jobs. The lockdowns and quarantines of the COVID-19 Pandemic have only made this process worse. Many formerly incarcerated people are struggling to find any kind of work, much less one that is stable and fulfilling. If you are a formerly incarcerated individual, here are a few of the challenges that you may face that you should be aware of. 

Reluctant Employers

Understandably, many employers may be reluctant to hire you when they learn that you’ve been in jail. They may have performed a background check on you and might be wary of your cause for incarceration. This can be difficult to face since if you never get hired, you’ll never be able to prove your worth and skills to your employer. However, do your best to show them that you don’t fit into the stereotypes of other formerly incarcerated individuals. In your job interviews, share experiences that have helped you develop new skills and improve as a person. 

Fewer Benefits

If you get hired at a job as a previously incarcerated individual, chances are that you might receive fewer benefits than your fellow employees. This can be a difficult challenge to face, particularly if you are in dire need of the benefits that should be provided for you. This could be anything from insurance benefits, to financial benefits, to healthcare benefits. However, there are some organizations, such as SNAP, that focus on providing benefits and necessary help to formerly incarcerated individuals. This can help you to get back onto your feet while these organizations help provide food and care for you and your family. 

Lower Pay

If you compare your post-jail employment pay to your pre-jail employment pay, you may realize that it is difficult to find a high-paying job after incarceration. Many formerly incarcerated individuals struggle to find jobs with reasonable pay and instead settle for jobs that have lower pay. After all, they have to support their families and their needs. This is even more difficult since most incarcerated individuals hardly have savings, and if they were able to work during their incarceration, it was for a minute wage. While this is a difficult challenge to overcome, finding a trustworthy and dependable employer who can recognize your value and your skills can help. 

Occupational Risks

Another challenge that you might face as a formerly incarcerated individual is that you might be placed in occupations that have more risks than normal. Jobs that require difficult manual labor will probably be more likely to hire you, but this could put you at risk of injury. For example, you may get hired to work on a farm that uses lots of heavy machinery and tractors. Even once you’ve been properly trained to use this equipment, you could still be at risk of danger or injury. Rolling equipment and overturning tractors are one of the leading causes of injury and death in manual labor. However, canopies can prevent rollover accidents from occurring while operating a tractor. If you find that you’re having lots of occupational risks in your profession, talk to your employer about improving the safety of your workplace. 

Lack of Education

One difficulty that many people face is finding good work due to their lack of education. While it is possible to go back to school and get more education post-incarceration, it is a difficult step for most people to take since they have pressing financial needs. Certain job opportunities require a certain amount of education in addition to experience. If you don’t have the necessary education, finding a job that isn’t a minimum wage, manual labor position could be difficult for you. 

Lost Skills

Even if you had completed a significant amount of education before your incarceration, it is possible that your time spent in jail caused you to lose important skills, skills that would have been valuable to a potential employer. For example, if you were a highly proficient technician or a skilled coder before your incarceration, you probably haven’t had the opportunity to keep up those skills as you’ve been in jail. While you probably didn’t lose those skills completely, there will have been lots of nuanced parts of those jobs that you will have likely forgotten. Unfortunately, this can make finding a job with your skill set significantly more difficult. 

Lack of ID

Unfortunately, some formerly incarcerated people find that they aren’t given State ID upon release. Some individuals have to wait months to get their ID and information back. Others have to pay expensive fees to buy new forms of ID such as birth certificates. This can be a very frustrating problem as many jobs require you to show your driver’s license, Social Security card, and other forms of ID upon being hired or interviewed. Be aware that this is a challenge that you might face upon being released from prison, and try to look into how you can get your ID back as soon as possible. The sooner you’re able to receive your ID and personal information, the sooner you’ll be able to be hired. 

Access to Important Health Resources

Once you are hired, you may find that you or your family are experiencing some health difficulties due to your incarceration or return to normal life. You may have physical needs that you can’t afford to take care of or mental health issues that you don’t have the resources to resolve. This difficulty can prove very problematic, especially if your health issues start interfering with your ability to work or keep your job. Fortunately, there are re-entry resources and nonprofit organizations that seek to assist people in these types of situations.

As you or your loved ones are adjusting to life after incarceration, there are many challenges that you will face. There are lots of difficulties that you may have in finding a successful and consistent job. However, it is important to remember that there are many organizations and resources that have been created to help people like you regain a good quality of life and find happiness once more.

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