Assignment 1 (2015)Ejercicio Inglés
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This text is an extract from the book entitled When prisoners come home; Parole and
Prisoner reentry. It was written by Joan Petersilia, Law Professor at Stanford Law School
and the former president of the American Society of Criminology. It was published in
2003 by the world’s biggest university press, the Oxford University press. The text, as
the whole book, is about the process by which jailed prisoners return to society, usually
not in a really successful way. The author describes and criticizes the present system and
suggests various procedures that could and should be done to improve it.
The text falls in four parts. The first part is in pages 3 and 4, where the topic is introduced.
After this introduction, the author focuses on giving a lot of data and information about American prisons and prisoners in general so that we can understand properly how badly the system works (pages 5-12). The following part explains what has made the system become the way it is (pages 12-14). The last part deals with the solution of the problem, stating ways to change and improve the system, in order to reduce the tax of recidivism and to increase the rehabilitation’s programs success (pages 14-20).
Ex-offenders: labeling and employment It is not a secret that ex-offenders are a group which is highly labelled by the society, a labelling that is obviously not good at all for this group but that is even worst for the society itself for various reasons that I will explain in this assignment, which will be centered on how this labeling affects ex-offenders in the area of employment.
Furthermore, I will show my point view about how this problem should be solved, through several modifications of the prisoners’ community reentry system.
The labelling that ex-offenders suffer from, affect their life fully after leaving prison. One of the main aspects in which ex-offenders suffer the consequences of having been in prison is in the employment area. In the first place, the vast majority of ex-offenders do not even have a high school certificate and even a bigger number of them have not been trained to work in any sector, partly due to the lack of learning courses that can be found in the penitentiary system. Consequently, when they leave prison, they cannot opt to any job which requires a minimum level of academic accreditation. In addition, they will have serious problems to find work even in sectors where academic accreditation is not needed, because their criminal past, which can be consulted by any job interviewer, will dieter companies and enterprises to hire them, even if their criminal records are minimum and the result of an action committed decades ago. Moreover, in case the company finds out about the ex-offender’s criminal past after hiring him, he will surely be fired immediately, no matter how well and hard was he working till that moment. In other cases, ex-offenders will be hired but they will work in lower and worst conditions than usual workers, conditions that they will accept only because they won’t have really a choice if they want to survive by legal and legitimate means. In some cases, all these obstacles that exoffenders experience while looking for a job, will end up forcing these ex-offenders to opt for partial or fully illegal means of life, which will make them return to prison in numerous cases, proving that the community reentry system is a complete failure.
To erase all the useless aspects of the system and transform it into a useful one, some changes should be made. First of all, learning courses in prisons should be radically increased so as to professionally form prisoners, in order to give them more chances to find a job after being released. Another aspect that should be changed is the criminal record system. Insignificant crimes leave a very long lasting and disproportionate record, a record that can be consulted by anyone. The system should be reorganized, stablishing proportionate records in terms of its duration and protecting the privacy of the exoffenders, allowing only the police and the criminal justice system to consult them.
However, I believe exceptions should be made when talking about the criminal record left by serious felonies such as murder or rape, which should be easier to consult.
Additionally, companies should be forced to hire people being only influenced by the individuals’ working profile, ignoring their criminal or non-criminal past.
In short, ex-offenders should have the same opportunities and right as any other citizen in terms of employment and professional training. Men and women that have committed a crime, have already been punished by the penitentiary system, losing priceless years of their life in freedom, time that they will never ever recover. Consequently, it is completely unfair and unlawful to socially punish ex-offenders, who have already payed for their past actions. Not obstacles but facilities should be given to ex-offenders, so as to make it easy for them to properly reintroduce themselves into society, in the aspect of employment as in any other aspect of the everyday life.
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