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Ex-cons Turned Down for Legitimate Work

Former Florida inmates face barriers when they try to reenter society. That's the message from Monday's Florida Justice Commission hearings.

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October 29, 2013 | WMFE--The forum for local experts, leaders and ex-convicts is part of a multi-state effort from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.  Its message is that the stigma of incarceration makes it hard for ex-convicts to find housing and legitimate work.  Drug addiction and mental health concerns are also problems.

Reverend Carl Lowery is the group’s director of advocacy and outreach.  “They just want to get their life back together,” he says.  “They want to be viewed as a person and a citizen again, not just as someone that has this stigma around them that says, ‘because I made a mistake once that that means I am forever no good.’”

Lowery notes incarceration rates diverge significantly by race.  African-American men are six times as likely as others to end up in prison.

Florida’s incarceration and crime rates are both well above the national average though the number of people in prison here is dropping.


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