Ready or not: employment, re-entry and the lasting effects of stigma after incarceration

Mooney, Taylor Elizabeth (2017) Ready or not: employment, re-entry and the lasting effects of stigma after incarceration. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In this thesis I explore the how former prisoners experience the transition from incarceration to employment. Employment has been identified by researchers as an essential element in exprisoners’ community re-entry process. However, the path to attaining employment after incarceration, particularly meaningful employment, remains complicated. Drawing on in-depth, semi-structured longitudinal interviews with 24 parolees occurring over a three-year period, I seek to better understand the experiences of ex-prisoners as they attempt to find work. I aim to understand whether individuals are prepared to pursue employment immediately upon release from prison and the factors that impact their readiness, or lack thereof. Upon recognizing that individuals in the study tended to identify themselves as not ready for employment, I sought to understand why they were still expected to begin working using Goffman’s (1963) theory of stigma. I suggest that in many cases, attempting to manage one’s stigmatized status slows individuals’ return to work. As well, I suggest that the stigma associated with time spent incarcerated undermines individual credibility, and for this reason, participants’ assertions that they do not feel ready to begin working are often not accepted.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 12980
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-89).
Keywords: employment reintegration, community re-entry, work transition, desistance, parole, community corrections
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: August 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Ex-convicts -- Employment; Stigma (Social psychology)

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