Comp II Final Project
“Fear, which, in turn, is utilized as a rationalization for discrimination and prejudice” (Akhtar, 2014). According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics since 1990 an average of 590,400 inmates have been released annually from federal/state prisons. The amount of people that have been incarcerated is a multiplying number yearly in this country. America should be more tolerant if not accepting to the idea of convicted felon’s reintegration in to society. It is disheartening that people still live in fear or look down on others whom have had to be incarcerated. If we overcome our discriminations against convicted felons, they can successfully re-enter society, and become productive law abiding citizens. Imagine applying for job after job, with no luck at all even though your credentials qualify you. With no income to provide much less survive, how can anyone make it? The opportunity that someone with a clean criminal history has is incomparable to that of someone with even just one prior conviction. Jobs as well as housing are not as easily attained by a convicted felon. I myself would not know what to do or how to handle the heavy weight of re-entering society. I am not one to make excuses, pacify or enable anyone. This is a real issue that families are suffering the consequences of. Unfortunately the view on imprisonment has been distorted by society ideas to label it as a way to lock up a “bad person and throw away the key”. It’s easy to assume inexperienced citizens have no way of knowing about all the educational, career, emotional and behavioral programs that are offered in prisons and jails. Upon interviewing an ex con about his experiences with re-entry, I discovered that even with proper education it is near impossible for many ex cons to have a career. Mr. Christian Jacobs a former inmate, now graduate of the renowned school of culinary arts, Cordon Blue, has yet to even begin a job with his degree. The point of my interview is to inform readers of alternative views when it comes to those of our society that have been incarcerated. Job opportunities being so scarce to convicted felons programs that will guide them in entrepreneurship. This is just another example of the reform of prison, it also gives backs my claims of discrimination. The reasons for these programs are to help ex cons with re entry, giving them back equal opportunities. An article I read stated “…entrepreneurship education might be particularly valuable for prisoners because self-employment as an occupational career path can help overcome potential employers' discriminatory attitudes toward ex-prisoners …” also that an entrepreneurial mindset will give “... individuals whose career paths have been terminated can begin to form an attitudinal foundation from which to rebuild a future.” (PATZELT, 2014) When asked what adversities he faced when looking for housing, Mr. Jacobs answer touched me. He answered “I first tried rental rooms trying to avoid apartment complex's knowing all of their requirements with felon history. I was ok with having to follow someone house rules I learned a lot of discipline during my ten years away. The only problem was no one and I mean no one wanted a violent criminal in their house.” (Jacobs, 2015) Mr. Jacobs went on to explain that his own family had told him he was not welcomed in their home because of what the neighbors would think. Mr. Jacobs was raised in a gated community in Coto De Caza, Orange County, and Southern California. His family cut him off once he got in trouble, so that their rich friends would not know. Not only has Mr. Jacobs been discriminated against in the work field but even rejected for housing.
Convicted felons are a stigmatized group of society. There are many preconceived ideas society has made up about any person with a checkered past. Major misconceptions that I would like to address are convicted felons