Section from the Incubator Project.

. . . Formerly Incarcerated Individuals Experience Social and Emotional Barriers.

Past, present and future relationships: This includes family, friends and others that have an emotional connection with the re-entrant. These sorts of relationships may impact transitioning back into the community negatively. It may even be triggers for potential relapse or they could even be beneficial if nurtured properly.

Some Solutions That Really Work.

  • Teach life skills that help members develop praiseworthy social norms and personable skills
  • Offer grooming and appearance assistance such as free tattoo removal, haircut, dress code tips and dental services if needed. Members will advocate that these services should be free where it relates to securing employment
  • Family reunification support and how to develop new and healthy relationships with others
  • Introduction into social settings that are positive and encouraging when developing new friends and associates
  • Healthy exercises that allow members to practice making amends to family, friends and community
  • Establish positive principles to live by, or faith principles (if religious)
  • Attending community engagement events such as clean slate programs, relief clinics, advocacy and services, political forums and other opportunities where members can advocate for themselves in obtaining economic justice and empowerment

Economic and Employment Barriers.

Criminal record is the first obstacles that stands out for members. There may be educational or skills barriers that prevent individuals from obtaining livable employment.

Some Solutions That Really Work.

  • At first point of contact, agencies must enable members to compete in the workforce by creating a check list of items e.g., CA ID/driver’s license, social security card, job interview wardrobe, and transportation (just to name a few)
  • Enroll members into educational courses that include reading and comprehension, GED, and other areas that have been identified as shortcomings. This may include, and are not limited to, soft skills training, computer literacy, customer services training, etc. Members must advocate that these services be free when related to securing employment. This could be done through a voucher system offered through the Probation and Parole Department or similar agencies
  • Obtain letters of support designed to incentivize employers to hire someone with a criminal background, these letters should come from institutions, government agencies e.g. the Probation Department and City officials
  • Obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation for those that have discharged parole or probation
  • Identify community engagement events, political forums and other opportunities where members can advocate for themselves in obtaining economic justice as a renewed citizen
  • Agencies should also create their own Certificate of Rehabilitation that members can present to employers when looking for employment.

Barriers after Employment.

Depending on the length of incarceration, type of crime, or employment history, many members may not understand nor understand what their rights are, how to access certain benefits that they may qualify for, or how to manage their finances. Other barriers are as follows:

  • Establishing credit
  • Credit and other debt
  • Qualifying for affordable housing
  • When is it safe not to mark the box (felony)
  • How to obtain an affordable car loan without outrageous APR%
  • Obtaining quality healthcare insurance
  • Obtaining security clearances for promotion or new job position
  • Passing a Live Scan

Some Solutions That Really Work.

  • Insist that members attend financial planning workshops, money management courses which helps in avoiding bad budgeting
  • Assistance with opening savings account
  • Identify community engagement events specific to workforce forums and other opportunities where members can advocate for themselves in the matter of affordable housing, banning the box, and similar topics
  • Offer members alternatives to banking resources such as credit unions and similar financial institutions that do not charges fees on your own money, etc.