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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Unable to Get Jobs Freed Inmates Returning To Jail


A growing number of states are pushing inmates out of prison in early release programs designed to reduce overcrowding and save money. But faced with a tight job market and few employers willing to hire someone with a criminal record, many former inmates are likely to end up right back behind bars.

Last month, California began releasing prisoners deemed at low risk for re-offending. Colorado, Oregon, Kentucky and Connecticut, all wracked with budgetary issues, have instituted similar moves as a way to cut costs, while others, including Michigan and Mississippi, are considering similar initiatives.
“If people get drawn back into the real world, get a job and make a living, studies show they’ll be less likely to go back to prison,” said Howard Husock, vice president for policy research for The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. “With early release now on the menu for so many states, it makes the matter more pressing.


Anonymous said...

Possibly some truth, however my inmate friend had two jobs and they are in the process now of regressing her to prison. She has been on the isp program and should be treated and have all the priveleges of anyone else on parole, however the Parole officers violate CDOC AR's and are violating her on technicol grounds. She recieved no due process of law whatsoever. Colorado DOC stinks as well as there ISP and parole board and officers. Its no wonder inmates fail miserably.

Brook Henderson said...

We can all help here. Please go to Change.org to vote for my idea of banning that box on an employment application that says, "Have you ever been convicted..." That can give an ex-felon a fighting chance to get a job. They can disclose during the interview, before the background check. Here's the URL:

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with the previous post .

Further the people who are regressed over very minor transgressions (for example, consuming alcohol) with no other case or incident involved are faced with impossible constraints from the Halfway Houses. No money. No transportation.No cellphone.Cannot drive at all even on the job, whether or not your have a valid license.

In addition to disclosing that you are a felon in what are increasingly ONLINE ONLY applications, before you ever have a face to face meeting with the prospective employer, Security from your residence will place a call to them stating, “You are felon friendly aren’t you”? In other words, “We don’t trust them, but you should”

Before you ever get there and have the opportunity to meet with someone with whom you could make favorable impression, the Personnel of DOC (and their agents)have destroyed any chance that the person has to compete.(BEFORE THEY EVER GET THERE).

I am familiar with an entity (Halfway House) that provides what is essentially a job skills coaching, resource center etc. that by appearances would appear to the General Public to be pretty impressive.

But because the policies of Secuiity undermine all the coaching that the Job resource people have provided it is a tremendous waste of time and money in most cases.

Alas, like all things DOC, the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

As a result it isn’t any wonder that people who have never had to compete in the first place give up. At least it isn't to someone who see what really occurs on a day to day basis.

Anonymous said...

The hard reality for employers is that they are now receiving job candidates overqualified for many jobs..too many applicants, too few jobs. And, faced with the choice of hiring a felon vs. a non-felon, which do you think will be selected?

Anonymous said...

As a Probation Officer, one of the biggest challenges of my job is to deal with people needing to be vouchered for everything they are required by the Court and Probation to complete. Urine and breath screens, substance abuse treatment, anger management treatment, cognitive behavioral treatment, electronic home monitoring, etc., etc. - whatever we deem appropriate for the particular offender. Instead of having these people incarcerated, this is the alternative - have them out, and try to get them back on their feet. Simple? Lord, no! If - IF - the offenders are willing to participate in anything they agree post-sentencing to do, the State pays for it. Since we are required to exhaust all interventions/sanctions with the offenders prior to initiating a revocation proceeding - sans them picking up a new (particularily felony) case - we try to assist them with employment. I cannot tell you how many times a day I say: "I know it's hard out there - believe me. I see it all around me, too. However, you are required to complete these requirements to satisfy the terms and conditions of your criminal conviction." So on, and so on. All day long. We have in-house employment programs, job contact lists, felon-friendly employer lists, advice to go to Work Force Centers and places such as The Road Called STRATE and - this is hard to sell - encouragement for them to get their butt up at 4:00 to get to Day Labor and try to get a ticket out...... Point is, the Colorado Judicial Branch trying to help offenders in this dismal economy, but fact of the matter is, when an employer has a choice - such as they do today in this economic environment - to employ a person with a clean/petty criminal record ahead of a two or three ... or four ... time felon ... well, the choice is clear. I totally disagree with the previous posting that is out to ban criminal history disclosure on job applications. Employers have a right to know if a potential hire has a conviction for theft, or fraud, or assault, or illegal possession of a transaction device - I could go on ... they have a right to weed applicants out as they see fit, and if they have a policy of hiring offenders, more power to them. But, all applicants are not created equal - no matter how well they can get through an interview. I digress. I want citizens to know that, at least, the Colorado Judicial Branch is constantly looking for ways to assist offenders to help them build better lives for themselves and their families.

Anonymous said...

This could only come from someone working in this area of work. How else are you going to justify a need for parole officers. Maybe you try to help them, but most people in your position are doing it for the power you must sense when you regress someone

Anonymous said...

A big thanks to the probation officer who wrote the truth. The hard reality is during both probation AND parole, multiple chances are provided on a silver platter to the offender. Time after time new opportunities to succeed are presented, along w/ resources, training, transportation, and treatment. MANY offenders just flat out don't keep their end of the bargain! Across this country 50% of offenders will fail. Why is it NONE of them want to take at least PART of the responsibility? WHEN can we shift some of the blame to them, rather than having the criminal justice system at fault? Remember, prisons do not pick their population, the courts send the guilty to prison after MANY chances on probation! Just how many drunk drivers, sex offenders, wife and child beaters, drive by shooters and illegal drug users/sellers will society tolerate?

Anonymous said...

The above writer and the parole officer is dead wrong. When it comes to getting a job Parole is defeating the inmate by placing restrictions beyond need. I have a prime example of a woman who has a bachelors degree in buisness as well as computer science. Her conviction was for writing insufficient funds checks. Now her parole officer says she cannot get a job in the computer industry and forces her to look for minimum pay jobs. She is tolf she cant be on or use the internet. Why? She has served all her time for those offenses. The only sentence she hasnt completed was, Joe Morales, assistand DA and Investigator Viapando of DA Morrisseys office aided by Ispector Robert Thiede of DOC, convicted my friend of writing letters to public officials, which was a lie, yet they convicted her to 1 charge thru coiercion by a Judge named Egelhof. He gave her six years in DOC. Reason i know she wasnt guilty of writing the unsigned letters was they were computer generated. At that time they, (DOC) had my friend held in Adminstrative Segregation, which is 23 hour day lock down and had no access to a computer nor a typewriter. I would like to see all those involved in the conspiracy to shut her up because she reported being raped by a guard. I have a copy of the false IG and Denver police report.
Now they have her on ISP and wont let her get a decent job so she could work and earn enough to pay off her restitution for those checks she wrote back in about the year 2000. Thats how long this bullshit has been going on.
This was all reported to Governor Ritters office without so much as a personal hearing of facts which i have. The facts are a lot of people, DA's office, DOC personnel should be fired for there part in ruining this ladys life and that of her daughter and the thousands of dollars spent by family trying to help. JUSTICE in Colorado. Very bad unless you have a lot of money. In this case were going to have our day in court very soon. Thanks, you all will be hearing from me.