Every year, roughly 600,000 felons and other convicts are released back into society from US prison systems having completed lengthy sentences for their crimes. Unfortunately, the recidivism rates for these men and women are extremely high; roughly half are re-incarcerated within 3 years of release, and the rate is even higher among young adult males.
It's no secret that employment is the key to leading a comfortable life, but what traps these men and women is that employment opportunities available to them are very bleak, usually limited to manual labor jobs such as construction, home improvement, and warehousing. It is the warehousing industry in particular that interests me in this case, as the pay and conditions are notoriously poor. What is a man with a family supposed to do when his average hourly wage is only $9.00? Unfortunately, the answer for many is to return to crime.
This low-wage lifestyle of warehouse ex-offenders is one that is ultimately a dead end. Their prospects for improving their lives are very bleak, yet society tells them that hard work will pay off. They are caught in jobs that cause chronic pain with little reward and this trickles down into every aspect of their life; housing, relationships, and eventually their attitude on life. And the rest of society can't even begin to understand it. They offer very little help or solutions to these problems, which is what I intend to focus on; creating programs similar to those in existence for other groups of people or extending and growing those that are already in place to help these people.