The consequences of a criminal conviction do not end with sentencing and fines paid. When ex-offenders are released from prison, they face a difficult environment that prevents them from being productive in the society. These challenges make it difficult for the ex-convicts to successfully re-enter and integrate with the society (Forrest 1). There are various collateral consequences that make ex-convict’s life difficult.
Firstly, most of the ex-convicts find it extremely difficult to secure employment. Some employers feel that the ex-convicts have obsolete skills. In other areas, there are specific jobs that ex-convicts are barred from due to lack of “moral character.” Securing an employment after incarceration is difficult, especially in jobs requiring a license, which may be quite difficult to obtain (Forrest 2). Additionally, employers shy away from offering a former prisoner a job to maintain their business image. Due to these factors, most of the ex-convicts find themselves back in crime where they may be re-arrested and imprisoned again.
Secondly, ex-convicts automatically lose some privileges such access to grants. Since they cannot obtain loans, then they cannot support their college education or even obtain money to start a business. Therefore, an ex-prisoner does not get equal chances as other people in the society despite having been punished for his/her wrongdoing. Due to lack of access to higher education, the former prisoner may find it hard to secure jobs that require specific levels of education.
To overcome some of the collateral consequences that follow upon release from prison, the ex-convict should use the skills he/she has to make a living. They can start small businesses to solve some of the societal problems and in this case, win the trust of the community. Additionally, the ex-convict should participate in community-based programs to prove that he/she is a changed person. In this case, the community will have confidence in him/her. On the other hand, the government may be willing to support them in their education if they show their willingness for education. Therefore, they can enroll in online colleges where they do not necessarily need to visit the institution of higher learning physically. To ensure smooth re-entry into the society, the government should eliminate some of these consequences that seem to punish an ex-convict yet he/she has already served his/her time in prison.
Forrest E. Catherine. Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction: Impact on Corrections and Reentry. Feb 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249734.pdf