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Offender Perceptions on the Value of Employment

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 61 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 46-67
Terri-Lynne Scott
Date Published
March 2010
22 pages
This study examined inmates' perceptions of the value of employment and crime in a sample of Canadian offenders.
The study found that for those offenders who assigned a value to employment, the majority listed financial security and materialistic gain as the primary advantages to employment. For those offenders who assigned a value to crime, the majority listed the allure of quick and easy money as the primary advantages to crime. The research literature indicates that employment provides offenders with responsibility, personal value, independence, dignity, and a stake in society, thus increasing the chances of successful reintegration and breaking the cycle of unemployment, low-wages, and incarceration. Data were collected from a sample of mostly White, male, Canadian offenders. The offenders were interviewed at two time periods - approximately 3-6 weeks following release from prison, and again approximately 6 months following release from prison. They also completed self-report questionnaires at both time periods; additional information was obtained through a review of the inmates' files. The results of the study indicate that offenders' attitudes towards employment and crime remain relatively stable over time and that they are able to correctly associate the rewards and costs associated with employment and crime. Changes needed to improve offenders' chances of success are discussed. Tables and references