For more than 600,000 people who leave prison and re-enter society every year, finding employment can be a severe challenge. Prison time carries a social stigma, which makes finding any job, let alone a good job, all too difficult...A 2006 study by the Independent Committee on Re-Entry and Employment found that up to 60% of formerly incarcerated people are unemployed one year after release... And even when they find employment, people who have been incarcerated earn less than 40% of people in similar circumstances who have never been imprisoned, according to a study by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. Faced with obstacles to gainful employment, it is not surprise that 43% of people released from prison end up back behind bars within three years, according to a recent PEW study on recidivism. The costs of incarceration extend across generations. Nearly three million American children have a parent in prison or jail. Growing up with an incarcerated parent can harm childhood development. Research by PEW shows that children with fathers who have been incarcerated are nearly six times more likely to be expelled or suspended from school. Incarceration, therefore, helps perpetuate the cycle of family poverty and increase the potential for next generation criminal activity...Many of the people who end up in prison are already disadvantaged to begin with. In terms of basic education, more than a third of people in prison do not have a high-school diploma or G.E.D. according to the Justice Department...We need new policies that are designed to foster positive change, giving those who are incarcerated the skills they need to re-enter society as productive members of the workforce.
(The Wall Street Journal, "The Steep Cost of America's High Incarceration Rate" by Rubin and Turner, Dec. 26, 2014.)
The creators of the Independence Program have designed special features specifically for helping an ex-offender while he is still incarcerated. The ex-offender can complete the entire program through the mail.
The following is an example of one person this program is designed to help. This description would fit a large percentage of those currently incarcerated:
A man dropped out of high school and started selling drugs for a living. He has been arrested a few times. Each time he is arrested, the amount of time that he serves increases. He is a repeat offender. His most recent sentence is 10 years. Upon release, he will be in his late 30's. The prison system did not have the funds to offer him job training. When this man is released he is effectively unemployable. He has never worked a legal job because he has been in prison for the last ten years, he has no marketable job skill.
No wonder the unemployment rate for people like this is over 60%! Even if he does not want to go back into the drug trade, it is highly likely that he will. His only source of generating income for himself and his family would be the drug business. While there are certainly felons who have no desire to go straight, it is estimated that over 30% of the current prison population, if offered the opportunity to obtain a good legitimate income, would never return to a life of crime. The Independence Program will give these men the tools to help them accomplish their goal of providing for themselves and their families legally.