U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Employment After Prison: A Longitudinal Study of Former Prisoners

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 28 Issue: 5 Dated: October 2011 Pages: 698-718
Christy A. Visher; Sara A. Debus-Sherrill; Jennifer Yahner
Date Published
October 2011
21 pages
This article examines employment and prisoner reentry.
Finding sustained employment is an important component of the transition from prison to the community for exiting prisoners. Anecdotal reports from former prisoners indicate that most individuals experience great difficulties finding jobs after their release. However, little systematic information is available about the employment experiences of individuals released from prison or the characteristics of former prisoners who are successful in locating employment. Using a causal framework, this paper examines the employment experiences of a multi-state sample of former prisoners, and identifies the individual factors influencing the likelihood of employment after release from prison, using data gathered from interviews with prisoners before and at multiple times after release. Findings indicate that consistent work experience before incarceration, connection to employers before release, and conventional family relationships improve employment outcomes after release. Individuals who relapse to drug use quickly after release, have chronic physical or mental health problems, and are older or nonwhite are employed fewer months after a period of incarceration. (Published Abstract)