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Stay in Faith, A better life is on the horizon

Social Justice Blog

Social Justice Blog

Is the Transfer of Skills from Prison to Workplace Prohibited?

Posted on December 20, 2017 at 8:15 PM

Guy R. Grant

Since fireman unemployment is extremely low, why would a trained firemen not be able to find work? Amika Sergejev, who worked for two and a half years as a firefighter and lead engineer shared her story of employment denials based on her prison experience. Current rules prohibit her from being hired at any firehouse because her work at a firehouse was the last part of her prison sentence (Sergejev, 2017). Which means that she is barred from gainful employment using the skill she was trained for at the prison. One of the 5000, Catch 22, type of restrictions that are placed on the formerly incarcerated. Such rules eliminate the chance of the formerly incarcerated entering a productive life after their release. Conversely, the prisons mission statement is pro-reemployment based on the skills taught to the formerly incarcerated while in prison.

According to CoreCivic Corporation, "Most former inmates have completed programs designed to help them develop the skills needed to achieve success in the "world of work." Many have had employment and training in Federal Prison Industries (tradename: UNICOR), and/or in vocational and occupational training programs. Some have valuable skills which are hard to find in the job market."

While some restrictions which make sense for the formerly incarcerated many of the restrictions seem only to meant to further punish and impoverish those who have gone through the justice system. Many of those restrictions do not serve the public good but only make the formerly incarcerated more likely to be sent back to jail. However, these types of restrictions on employment are intended to keep the prisons population high and profits higher. After all, some states profit prisons from having a high prison population.

The private owned Corrections Corporation of America, renamed recently to Core Civic (CCA) in their annual report stated, "The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws." This statement is a open admission that keeping persons imprisoned results in more profit for prison-for-profit institutions.  Under the gauze of public service CCA owns and operates over 90 for profit prison throughout the USA.

Hopefully, humanitarians in our society will work to remove barriers for the formerly incarcerated to break the cycle of recidivism and bring the people back into society as productive citizens rather than a society aimed at increasingly producing more criminals. Exposing the hypocrisy of private prisons is the first step to ending legalized slavery. Unfortunately, this dilemma remains unnoticed while the population of prisoners and for-profit prisons continues to increase (Cohen, M., 2015).


Cohen, M. (2015). How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about: Sen. Marco Rubio is one of the biggest beneficiaries. The Washington Post. April 28, 2015

Sergejev, Amika (2017) Opinion: A skilled Cal Fire firefighter as an inmate, she's barred from career now that she's free. The Mercury News. San Jose, CA. November 21, 2017

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Categories: Reducing Recidivism, Reflection