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ERIC Number: EJ871288
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0740-2708
Social Symbols, Stigma, and the Labor Market Experiences of Former Prisoners
Owens, Carl D., Jr.
Journal of Correctional Education, v60 n4 p316-342 Dec 2009
Can college participation have any meaningful effects for former prisoners, beyond quantifiable measures of recidivism and income? Although stigma, overt discrimination, and a shrinking low-skilled labor market form notable challenges to reentry, some studies suggest that college experience helps former prisoners successfully avoid recidivism. Nevertheless, scholars continue to debate how college may work as a mechanism for reducing criminal activity. Proposing that college increases former prisoners' access to mainstream opportunities and holds particular implications in the labor market; this paper revises Lofland's normal-smith theory to identify a new kind of institution coined: the "opportunity-smith". Thematic content analysis of data gathered through interviews with seventeen formerly incarcerated college students suggests that the credentials and skills acquired through college participation help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully face the challenges of reentry. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
Correctional Education Association. 8182 Lark Brown Road Suite 202, Elkridge, MD 21075. Tel: 800-783-1232; Fax: 443-459-3088; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A