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An anthropological perspective on recidivism and employment in Colorado

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Title:
An anthropological perspective on recidivism and employment in Colorado
Creator:
Waugh, James
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vii, 101 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Recidivism -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Prisoners -- Employment -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Prisoners -- Employment ( fast )
Recidivism ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 98-101).
Thesis:
Anthropology
General Note:
Department of Anthropology
Statement of Responsibility:
by James Waugh.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
42612546 ( OCLC )
ocm42612546
Classification:
LD1190.L43 1999m .W38 ( lcc )

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Full Text
AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
ON RECIDIVISM AND EMPLOYMENT IN COLORADO
by
James Waugh
B.B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 1962
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Anthropology
1999


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
James Waugh
has been approved
by
$75/>/
Date


Waugh, James Alexander (M.A., Anthropology)
An Anthropological Perspective on Recidivism and Employment in Colorado
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Kitty Corbett
ABSTRACT
This paper examines the relationship between meaningful employment
and recidivism in Colorado. It focuses primarily on the Colorado
Department of Corrections (DOC), although the investigation included
interviews with members of Community Corrections and officers of the
Denver District Court. This investigation might be described as "knocking
on doors". It reports findings based largely on comments obtained from
professionals in the Colorado Criminal Justice System. Among the
informants were; a DOC educational specialist, DOC officials, various
Parole Officers, Case Managers in Community Corrections and Denver
Drug Court, job development specialists, members of Colorado's Job
Service, Intensive Supervision Probation Officers, halfway house Directors,
and the Denver Director of Community Corrections. A literature search was
also conducted.
Recidivism is a major factor in the ever growing prison population, and
thereby helps drive the increasing expense of confining felons. The DOC
budget has grown from about $200 million in 1993 to some $400 million in
1999, with new prison construction currently forecast at $480 million.
What emerged is confirmation of the important role employment can play
in reducing recidivism. This relationship is explored to examine if it contains
elements causal in nature, or if it reflects some undetected third variable
such as a decision to "go straight".
Ill


Also examined were hindrances to finding ex-offenders meaningful
employment with a decent wage level. This population suffers greatly from
low levels of both cultural and social capital. In addition, potential
employers are reluctant to hire from this group, primarily from a fear of
potential theft and violence in the work place. Efforts at job development
are meeting with relatively good success. However, too few of this offender
group are being served.
The main conclusions arrived at are:
1. Improved employment opportunities for the ex-offender group will result
in reduced recidivism. Further, due to the high cost of confining prisoners
for a year, it would not take too many successful placements to recover the
costs of a major effort.
2. The know-how to put a complete program together is available.
Unfortunately, there is not enough activity to reach the scale that is needed
to serve the over 4000 felons that are released back into Colorado's society
annually.
3. It appears to this investigator that the main problem inherent in this
situation is that employment is not generally considered a matter of public
safety, yet it clearly is. Support must come from the State's legislature for
this social dilemma to be properly addressed.
This abstract accurately reflects the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed


CONTENTS
Tables........................................... vi
Figures......................................... vii
CHAPTER
1. THE CURRENT OUTLOOK OF RECIDIVISM
IN COLORADO TODAY.......................... 1
2. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECIDIVISM
AND EMPLOYMENT EXAMINED.................... 17
3. JOB DEVELOPMENT AND PLACEMENT IN
COLORADO'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM......... 31
4. HINDRANCES TO EMPLOYMENT................. 66
5. JOB DEVELOPMENT ISSUES 79
AND RECOMMENDATIONS......................
APPENDIX
A. A NOTE ON METHODS........................ 92
BIBLIOGRAPHY..................................... 98
V


TABLES
Table
1.1 Cumulative Return Rates for Calendar Year Releases
1991 through 1996..................................... 10
1.2 Annual Cost per Inmate............................ 11
1.3 Total Releases by Year................................ 11
1.4 Cost Estimate of Recidivism of the
Releasees of 1991..................................... 13
1.5 Cumulative Return Rates for Calendar Year Releases
1990 through 1992..................................... 15
2.1 Criminal History, Job Problems
and Client Outcome.................................... 20
VI


FIGURES
Figure
1.1 Non-cumulative Recidivism Rate
1990 through 1992.................................... 15


CHAPTER 1
THE CURRENT OUTLOOK
OF RECIDIVISM IN COLORADO
"The job and the man are even.
The job fails the man, and the man fails the job.
(Liebow 1967:62)
There are few things in the world that an anthropologist enjoys more than
a "rite of passage". First identified and named by Arnold van Gennep, rites
of passage are found throughout the human condition. They mark a
transition in one's social status, and usually involve the separation of the
individual from their normal place in the social structure. During this period
of separation, other members of the group bestow ritual information upon the
initiate. At the conclusion of this period of withdrawal and instruction, the
subject returns to society, but in a new role.
For clarification, we might examine two examples of this process. One
common to our country is the "rite of passage" experienced by young men
who are called up in the service of our country. Removed from their normal
1


social construct as civilians, they follow a rigorous training program lasting
several months. By the end of this period, they have become effective
members of their military organization, and may be assigned into a wide
range of duties that they are now capable of performing. A second model is
often found in simpler societies that follow the custom that when a young
woman reaches maturity, she is temporarily removed from her family. The
older women then instruct her in the social expectations of womanhood
within their culture. When finished, the young woman is now deemed both
ready and suitable to assume the obligations of marriage and child bearing.
While the outcome of a "rite of passage" is usually positive, such is not
always the consequence. ".... the passage is consummated and the ritual
subject, the neophyte or initiate reenters the social structure, often but not
always at a higher status level. Ritual degradation occurs as well as
elevation. Courts martial and excommunication ceremonies create and
represent descents, not elevations" (Turner 1974: 232). To this writer, the
journey through Colorado's Criminal Justice System (CJS) is just such a
case of "ritual degradation" to which Turner refers. It is further this writer's
contention that a re-examination of the closure of this "passage" is in order.
Not because it is unfair or malevolent, but that, to borrow Professor Mary Jo
2


Bane's term, it leads so often to "rotten outcomes" (Schorr 1989:xvii).
Recidivism, the process whereby offenders who have "paid their debt to
society" for previous crimes, return again to the criminal justice system,
occurs all too often.
There appears to be a general agreement that meaningful employment
among the ex-offender population is a key issue in avoiding recidivism. This
paper probes this relationship from the perspective of an anthropologist,
rather than the traditional viewpoint of criminal justice professionals. The
investigation examines the present status of recidivism in Colorado, and the
resulting expense to the taxpayers. How and why employment and
recidivism are linked is then reviewed. Current efforts to enhance
employment, as reported by interviews with a cross-section of the CJS
professionals, are also included. Finally, some of the findings discovered
and conclusions reached are described. The intent of the writer is to bring
the perspective of anthropology to bear upon the criminal behavior of an
ever increasing sub-group of our populace. It is hoped that this
investigation will provide insight into initiatives that may dampen the
behavior that leads to the re-interment of such a large percentage of these
3


offenders. As will be shown, the problem is currently at epidemic
proportions.
To this writer, a major cause of recidivism lies in the meager "cultural and
social capital" possessed by so many members of this population. For a
variety of reasons, well studied, but outside the scope of this investigation,
much of the offender group has never acquired the skills and contacts so
necessary for successful participation in our society. Cultural capital, a term
coined by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, plays a substantial role in
anthropological theory. Like many concepts, it is a slippery term and difficult
to define precisely. However, since it appears to this author to be such a
key element in this study, we will take a brief look at how others describe the
term.
"Bourdieu's most important contribution to reproduction theory is the
concept of cultural capital, which he defines as the general cultural
background, knowledge, disposition, and skills that are passed from one
generation to the next" (MacLeod 1995:13). The theory postulates that
various classes of our population pass on to their offspring their core values
and skills. The process is as varied as is our citizenry. But, if the process is
4


interrupted, or if the cultural capital level passed on works poorly within the
society, the child is placed at a disadvantage that may well last a lifetime.
Yet another author describes the elements of cultural capital as including
knowledge, skills and differing types of educational qualifications"
(Thompson 1990:148). It is the elements of cultural capital that are so
readily convertible to economic wealth in our society. Certainly a strong
work ethic, a trait lacking in much of the ex-offender group, would be
deemed a desirable piece of cultural capital.
Social capital, which is also found lacking in a large segment of
offenders, is somewhat easier to define. Its main element is often described
as "knowing the right people". Contacts that so often "open doors" to
beneficial situations, usually come from some member of an individual's
support group. Frequently, this benefactor is a member of one's kinship
group, a friend, or a mentor. Anthropologists consider this support group to
be a major part of social capital. Lack of this supportive network is a major
factor in the failure of many felons to reintegrate into society successfully.
Informants time after time reported that ex-offenders are often friendless,
except within their own dysfunctional sub-group, and it is common for their
5


family to want "no part" of them. We shall revisit these themes later in the
study.
The prison population of Colorado's Department of Corrections (DOC)
continues to grow. This alone is a matter of grave concern even though this
trend is at least partially driven by the expanding population of the state.
One aspect of this unfortunate trend is that our prisons are increasingly
being swelled by offenders who are returning to the system for a second
and third time. "In Colorado, the Department of Corrections estimates that
criminal justice system program failures (from probation, community
corrections and parole) account for nearly 40% of prison admissions"
(English and Mande 1991:9). This issue is not unique to Colorado; it is a
reflection of a nationwide trend. Although recidivism rates show some
variance between states, three year tracking statistics from other states
seem to equal or exceed those of Colorado.
In a report prepared by The Rand Corporation for the Bureau of Justice
Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, inmates released in three states
during the late 1970's and early 1980's were tracked. "More than 50
percent of the inmates that were followed for at least 36 months were
6


arrested after their release from prison" (Klein & Caggiano 1986:viii). The
three states involved were California, Michigan, and Texas. The findings
indicated significant differences in recidivism rates with Michigan and Texas
lower than California. "About 53 percent of the Michigan inmates and 60
percent of the Texas inmates were arrested at least once within 36 months
of their release from prison, compared with 76 percent in California" (Klein &
Caggiano 1986:viii).
A 1989 briefing sheet from The Sentencing Project in Washington D.C.
reported on a government study that tracked 108,000 offenders released
from prisons in eleven states in 1983, one of the largest studies ever done
on recidivism. "Within three years of release, 62% of state prisoners in the
eleven states surveyed had been rearrested for a new felony or serious
misdemeanor, 47% had been reconvicted (although the actual figure is
probably higher), and 41% had received a new term of incarceration"
(Briefing Sheet 1989:1).
Further, the Federal Bureau of Prisons followed a representative sample
drawn from 1205 federal prison inmates released during the first 6 months
of 1987. Within three years,".... 40.8 percent of the former inmates had
7


either been rearrested or had their parole revoked, that is, recidivated'
(Harer 1994:1).
A 1996 study followed inmates released from various Texas correctional
facilities. "In Texas, 48% of the offenders who were released from prison in
1991 were re-incarcerated within three years" (Fabelo 1996:i). In another
massive investigation, New York State discovered similar outcomes. "Out of
14,130 inmates released in 1988, 7,410 (52.4%) returned to custody within
five years, 25.1% as new commitments and 27.4% for violation of parole"
(Dept, of Correctional Services 1995: ii).
Let us now return to the concern of this part of our investigation which is
to examine the state of recidivism in Colorado, and to gain some
appreciation of just how severe this dilemma is, in terms of the monetary
cost to Colorado's taxpayers. To accomplish this, several aspects of the
problem must be examined. First, the growth of the prison population in the
state, which, of course, drives the release rate. Second, the recidivism rate
experienced by the Colorado DOC, and third, the cost of retaining an inmate
in a correctional facility upon their return. Finally, the growing number of
8


inmates being released annually. We may then combine these factors to
help us grasp the magnitude of this mounting problem.
In the fiscal years between 1981 and 1997, the state's adult inmate
population increased from 2,272 to 12,205 (CO. DOC 1997:4), an increase
of over 500%. Equally disconcerting is the prospect that by the year 2004,
this population is forecast to swell to between nineteen and twenty thousand
(CO. DOC 1997:10). It is important for the reader to keep in mind that
almost all of these inmates will ultimately be released back into society at
some point. They will come out, for warehousing them forever is not only
financially impractical, it is unconstitutional. At a recent symposium on
employment for felons exiting the CJS, Ari Zavaras, then Executive Director
of the Colorado DOC, in his opening remarks stated that "95% of those
entering the DOC will come out."
Now let us take a look at Colorado's DOC recidivism rate. Table 1.1
indicates the most current recidivism rates as they transpire over a five year
period. An examination of the table indicates that by the end of the fifth
year after release, well over forty percent of those released are back in a
9


correctional facility. Also to be noted is the fact that this deplorable trend is
quickening. The rate of return is accelerating.
TABLE 1.1
Cumulative Return Rates For Calendar Year
Releases 1991 Through 1996
RELEASE YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEARS 3 YEARS 4 YEARS 5 YEARS
1991 26.00% 33.20% 37.30% 40.80% 43.20%
1992 27.40% 34.30% 38.80% 42.10% 44.30%
1993 28.80% 36.30% 40.50% 43.60%
1994 29.80% 36.90% 41.20%
1995 29.70% 37.50%
1996 34.00%
Source: DOC 1997 Fiscal Report: 57
As if the proliferating inmate population and growing recidivism rate were
not enough, the cost of maintaining a prisoner in the state's prison system is
increasing annually, as exhibited in Table 1.2.
io


TABLE 1.2
Annual Cost Per Inmate
YEAR COST PER INMATE
1991 $18,383
1992 $19,229
1993 $19,300
1994 $20,796
1995 $21,403
1996 $23,246
Source: CO. DOC Fiscal Reports for Years 1992 through 1997
At this time, perhaps the scale of this problem in Colorado can be better
appreciated if we examine the growing number of offenders that are
released back into society. Table 1.3 indicates this information for the
period under examination.
TABLE 1.3
Total Releases by Year
YEAR RELEASES
1991 3115
1992 3309
1993 3563
1994 3593
1995 4001
1996 4445
Source: CO. DOC Fiscal Reports for Years 1992 through 1997
n


It is beyond the scope of this investigation to arrive at an estimate of the
true cost of recidivism for the citizens of Colorado. Such a study would
have to place a realistic dollar figure on the cost of new crimes, the amount
spent in apprehending the felons, as well as the costs involved in
prosecuting the offenders through the courts. Nor is the cost of building
prisons, now approaching $50,000 per cell, taken into consideration.
However, we do have enough data to arrive at some assessment of what
the Colorado DOC spends in a year to deal with this problem. We can
estimate the "tip of the iceberg".
The average sentence that an offender receives through the process of
recidivism is unclear. However, data are available for technical returns. A
felon re-incarcerated on a "technical return is essentially guilty of violating
the terms of parole, rather than committing a new crime. Infractions may be
as serious as the possession of a weapon, or as minor as a traffic violation
or a change of address without permission. In 1997 technical returns, were
re-incarcerated for an average of 9.7 months, while the average time served
for all 1997 releases was 22.2 months (CO. DOC 1997:53). For the
purpose of establishing some concept of the cost of recidivism in Colorado,
this writer suggests that the figure of eighty percent of the annual cost be
12


used. This figure is an approximation of the percentage that 9.7 months is
of a year. Using the data already presented, we can create Table 1.4. This
table develops a cost estimate for the "class" of 1991, when 3,115 felons
were released. The percent (%) RETURNED column reflects the recidivism
rate as shown in Table 1.1 which is applied against Table 1.3 to establish
the number (#) RETURNED column reflecting the actual number of
offenders returning to DOC in the year indicated. As indicated above, the
80% COST column reflects that percentage of the annual cost of
incarceration from Table 1.2. The TOTAL $ column simply reflects the
extension of the data in the previous two columns.
TABLE 1.4
Cost Estimate of Recidivism of the Releasees Of 1991
YEAR % RETURNED # RETURNED 80% COST TOTAL $
1991 26.00% 810 $14,706 $11,911,860
1992 7.20% 224 $15,383 $3,455,792
1993 4.10% 128 $15,440 $1,976,320
1994 3.50% 109 $16,636 $1,813,324
1995 2.40% 75 $17,122 $1,284,150
TOTAL $20.431.446
Source: CO. DOC Fiscal Reports for Years 1992 through 1996
13


As may be seen from Table 1.4, recidivism is a costly process, one that
this writer, along with others, feels can be ameliorated. This is the major
reason for this investigation
Additionally, when these data are examined in a non-cumulative manner,
as in the bottom row of Table 1.5, and in graph form in Figure 1.1, the
importance of the first year of reintegration back into society becomes
evident. Almost 60% of recidivism occurs in the first year. This suggests
that any intervention has a greater potential if implemented at, or shortly
after the time of release. This writer agrees with one experienced criminal
justice professional interviewed, who indicated that such a process should
begin in the correctional facility some time before discharge.
14


TABLE 1.5
Cumulative Return Rates for Calendar Year Releases
1990 through 1992
RELEASE YEAR 1st YEAR 2nd YEAR 3rd YEAR 4th YEAR 5th YEAR
1991 25.00% 32.70% 37.10% 40.50% 43.20%
1992 26.00% 33.20% 37.30% 40.80% 43.20%
1993 27.40% 34.30% 38.80% 42.10% 44.30%
3 YEAR AVG 26.13% 33.40% 37.73% 41.13% 43.57%
% BY YEAR 26.13% 7.27% 4.33% 3.40% 2.44%
Source: DOC Annual Fiscal Reports for 1995 and 1997
(3 Year avg., % by Year, and Figure 1 below added by author)
FIGURE 1.1
Non-cumulative Recidivism Rate
1990/92
30.00%
25.00%
20.00%
15.00%
10.00%
5.00%
0.00%
15


We can say one other thing with certainty about those released from the
system, they will find a way to survive. The manner in which they achieve
their survival will have a dramatic impact on our society, and should be of
concern to all. Must we accept the dysfunctional behavior that leads to
recidivism as an unalterable aspect of our modern society? Shall we take
no action and content ourselves with recycling them through our expensive
criminal justice system, or can we find new and meaningful solutions?
16


CHAPTER TWO
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECIDIVISM
AND EMPLOYMENT EXAMINED
"Work creates a place in the world for workers
and a set of relationships with their families,
friends, and the larger community"
(Pappas 1989: 79)
Early on in this investigation, an informant well acquainted with the
process of felons exiting the state's criminal justice system, outlined a
scenario that described some of the negative aspects of the procedure
currently in place. Discharged from a Canon City correctional facility with
only a bus ticket and a check for one hundred dollars (known as the "kick
out 100"), the offender often arrives in the Denver area in the late afternoon
or early evening devoid of any support group, lacking even a place to sleep.
They are often specifically prohibited from associating with other felons
(whom can often be met on the bus) or visiting bars. With no friend or
kinship member to meet them, too often they seek out one of the few places
that will cash their check, a downtown bar. There they form new friendships
17


of questionable merit, and find the alcohol and feminine companionship they
have so long been denied. The outcome is all too predictable.
This writer is not an advocate for criminal behavior, but if the reader will
just try to visualize themselves in the recently discharged offender's "shoes",
they will not find a happy state. If they have been interred for an extended
period, say 8 or 10 years, no former friend or member of their kinship group
is likely to take any interest in them. With no meaningful support group, few
resources, little cultural or social capital, poorly educated, and limited work
skills and work history, the ex-offender faces a bleak future to say the least.
Their position is almost desperate in relation to the obstacles to be
encountered. All of these issues are difficult burdens, but the principle
focus of this paper is their need for meaningful employment. They need a
job, and they need it quickly.
"Studies conducted over a period of more than forty years have found
that unemployment and recidivism are closely related for prison releasees
and other ex-offenders" (Toborg 1977:V). The relationship between
unemployment and recidivism appears robust and well known. However,
there is no clear cut consensus as to the causes behind this relationship. Is
18


it causal in nature, or does it reflect some third variable such as a resolve to
"go straight"? Whatever the cause, the relationship is well defined and
accepted as fact.
Community Corrections is another branch of Colorado's Department of
Public Safety. Various districts of the State's Court system have established
Boards of Community Correction as mandated by law. Community
Corrections is the repository of halfway houses. In Colorado these
institutions are operated for profit by independent contractors under the
supervision of the applicable local Community Corrections Board.
Residents of these halfway houses, often referred to as "clients", come
preponderantly from two distinct sources.
The first group are identified as diversion clients. These are convicted
felons perceived by the courts to be of low risk to public safety who are
therefore sentenced directly to a halfway house. The other major groups
are referred to as transitional clients. These are offenders exiting the
Colorado DOC correctional facilities who are deemed to benefit from a
transitional period to acclimate themselves to the changes in lifestyle
between the discipline of prison and the freedom of society. These
19


transitional clients are essentially relearning to function in society while
awaiting parole.
While there are undoubtedly other significant indicators of failure, English
and Mande, in a 1991 study of Community Corrections for the Colorado
Department of Public Safety, found the relationship between employment
and failure to successfully reintegrate into society not only robust, but the
leading factor in program failure. "Employment was found to be related to
program failure. Clients with recorded employment problems were three
times as likely to fail than those who had no job problems" (English and
Mande 1991:2). Data from table 3.4 of that English and Mande study is
reproduced here as Table 2.1.
TABLE 2.1
Criminal History, Job Problems and Client Outcome
CRIMINAL NO JOB PROBLEM HAD JOB PRO 3LEMS
SCORE SUCCEED FAIL SUCCEED FAIL NUMBER
0 71.10% 28.30% 25.00% 75.00% 295
1 59.60% 23.50% 23.50% 76.50% 234
2 58.90% 18.00% 18.00% 82.00% 225
3 54.90% 14.60% 14.60% 85.40% 150
4 42.60% 33.70% 33.70% 66.30% 391
Source: English and Mande 1991:26
20


An examination of Table 2.1 indicates very clearly that offenders who
experience no job problems have a dramatically better chance for success
than those who do. As a note of explanation, the Criminal Score shown in
the first column is a rating system used by the state to evaluate the felon's
perceived threat to society. It is prepared on an evaluation form designed
for that purpose by the prosecutor upon the conviction of a defendant. The
presiding judge takes the offender's rating into consideration in determining
the sentence to be given. The higher this number, the greater the threat of
violence, and therefore the more restrictive security measures warranted.
As the table indicates, at the criminal score levels from zero to three, there
is a major difference in the outcomes when job problems are present
compared to when they are absent. At level four, the importance of job
success is less relevant, but the trend is similar. The researchers who
conducted this study felt little doubt of the importance of successful
employment. "In subsequent analysis, using information from the best
discriminate model, we found employment to enter first for over 80% of the
programs studied. That is, employment status appeared to be the strongest
predictor of failure for over 80% of the programs" (English and Mande
1991:26). While this study does not prove the value of meaningful
employment, it certainly strongly suggests that decent jobs reduce the rate
of recidivism.
21


This writer proposed to one knowledgeable informant, who has years
of experience in placing felons in jobs, that the early indications of this
writer's study suggested that success on the job was the number one
indicator for achieving successful reintegration into society. He agreed, but
cautioned that this relationship was relatively easy to identify. Underlying
this association is that failure on the job is largely due, in his opinion, to a
lack of job keeping skills. Common failures he has observed over the years
are related to: 1) disagreement with supervisor; 2) claims of being
mistreated; and 3) dislike of fellow workers. In addition, he advised that it is
difficult for the releasees to get "work hardened". By that, he means the
process of meeting the requirements of the job in both mental and physical
areas. Additional job readiness skills that need to be developed if missing
include: 1) regular attendance; 2) showing up on time; 3) the mobility to
accomplish these; and 4) appropriate attire.
While this same source agrees that releasees often are able to obtain
only marginal (low paying) jobs, the income usually meets the releasees'
immediate needs. To stabilize the offender in the community however, he
believes that the wage scale is an important element. Still, too often ex-
offenders will not keep appointments for positions that offer relatively high
22


wages, or fail to pursue career paths, as perhaps an apprentice, to better
earnings.
One experienced state Parole Supervisor with years of experience views
earning a good income as a third positive indicator of success. The other
two mentioned were strong family support, which is often lacking, and that
the offender has passed the age of forty. Older felons seem to avoid
recidivism, either because they have had enough of prison, and give up the
criminal lifestyle, or they get so good at it that they avoid apprehension.
There is yet another view of why age seems to mediate recidivism. "Many
chronic street criminals who are middle-aged and older have become so
addicted to alcohol and drugs that going to prison is a deterrent, because
imprisonment threatens easy access to drugs and alcohol." (Fleisher
1995:242).
When investigating the relationship between employment and recidivism,
one must look at the connection of each with the offender. Does success
on the job really provide a good indication of avoidance of recidivism?
Improved work ethic, no matter how derived, surely reflects an attitude
adjustment by the offender, for whatever reason. Maybe that is the answer.
23


Perhaps staying on the job, and keeping out of trouble, are both reflections
of attitude. In other words, the relationship between employment and
recidivism may be determined by this complex question of attitude or work
ethic. If this is true, are there any other related factors that might be found?
"The observed relationship between criminality and
unemployment has been explained in different ways. Some
researchers have proposed that there is a causal relationship
between unemployment and crime, while other analysts have
argued that unemployment and recidivism are highly
correlated only because each is associated with another factor
(e.g., the influence of family members or a decision to 'go
straight') which induced widespread behavioral change.
Whatever the explanation, unemployment and recidivism are
often closely related" (Toborg 1977:V).
To fully grasp its importance, we must define work for the purpose of this
paper, and then attempt to determine its role in recidivism avoidance.
Humankind, alone among all the animals of our world manifests tremendous
power over the environment. No other species even begins to approach
ours in these endeavors. We accomplish these changes through the efforts
of our labor. This labor, or work as we commonly say, is one of our most
significant activities, and is a major element in defining our humanity.
People everywhere work, although it may take significantly different forms
between the smaller scale cultures and industrialized society. Work, it
should be remembered, is not synonymous with paid employment.
24


However, for the purposes of this paper, payment for work is considered a
key element. All members of a modern industrialized state need a source of
the monetary medium of exchange, whether it be dollars, francs, euros, or
yen. In Colorado this translates to U.S. dollars. We all need cash.
Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Elliott Liebow, an
anthropologist, said,
Work is not only the fundamental condition of human
existence, but it is through work...that the individual is able to
define himself as a full and valued member of society. It is
almost impossible to think of what it means to be human
without thinking of work" (Peterson 1995:66).
To better appreciate the importance of paid employment in the lives of
felons returning to society, the reader might pause for a few moments and
consider the role of work in their own lives. All of the necessities of life, and
the luxuries as well, for one's self and one's loved ones, are usually
achieved through work. So it seems to be appropriate to assume that all of
the importance of income from work to the noncriminal population, is equally
relevant to those who have violated our laws. This is not intended to
minimize or in any way diminish the importance of the non-paid work of the
millions who serve as volunteers or work at home to enrich family life.
25


Rather, it is intended to highlight the importance of wage earnings in our
current industrialized society.
This investigator learned of several aspects of meaningful work that may
well differ in their impact upon ex-offenders, and contribute to the role of
paid employment in the avoidance of recidivism. One veteran Intensive
Supervision Parole (ISP) officer offered the opinion that money in the pocket
acts as a deterrent to "impulse" crimes. Thus, an ex-offender sitting in a bar
who is approached to participate in an illicit activity, such as driving a
truckload of stolen TV's across town for 50 or 75 dollars, will be more likely
to decline if he has money in his pocket. According to this expert informant,
"money in hand dampens criminal activity".
Then too, money issues are a frequent source of argument in any
domestic relationship. According to this same ISP officer, an unemployed
husband, spending his days loafing at home, is more likely to get into an
argument with his wife over money. This argument can lead to domestic
violence with all its miserable ramifications. This writer pursued this theme
at one of Denver's domestic violence centers, but could find no supporting
evidence either in the library or in interviews with staff members. This
26


literature review indicated that domestic violence covers the whole wide
range of economic conditions and is found among the wealthy as well as the
poor. Most of the American male population is employed. The employment
rate seems to fluctuate in recent times between the lower 90th percentile
and the mid-90's. Thus this writer perceives it as reasonable that in excess
of 90% of domestic violence will be perpetrated by employed individuals.
However, one informal sanction was suggested that appears to be
significant. Employers, if they become aware of these incidents through
absenteeism caused by being in jail, or through the "grape vine", are not
likely to be favorably impressed, particularly as the public's awareness and
sensitivity grows. An employer's condemnation, or even threat of discharge,
apparently is perceived as an additional sanction against domestic violence.
This fact is born out by an investigation of the variance of the incidence
of domestic violence between those who worked and those who did not.
The results of this study provide general support for the
hypothesis that the deterrent effect of the formal sanction of
arrest for spouse abuse is mediated by the informal sanctions
implicit in employment status. Among employed suspects,
arrest had a statistical significant deterrent effect on the
occurrence of a subsequent assault as recorded on the
Domestic Violence Continuation Report forms. Among
unemployed suspects on the other hand, significant increases in
27


subsequent assaults were associated with arrest (Pate and
Edwin 1992: 695).
So the possibility of losing one's job, an informal sanction in the hands of
the employer, appears to reduce the proclivity toward domestic violence.
This additional restraint is lacking among the unemployed.
So it does seem that money in the home tends to lessen stresses that
lead to domestic violence. In this same vein, the officer commented that a
job keeps the partners apart for much of the waking hours which can
enhance their relationship, perhaps by diffusing tensions. To this we should
add, most acts of domestic violence are misdemeanors, and will likely lead
to technical recidivism for someone on parole.
In one early interview, a seasoned parole supervisor suggested that he
had severe reservations about a releasee returning to their old
neighborhood unless they were going to live with caring parents or a
respected spouse. Parole officers have no lawful way to prohibit this, but he
regards it as a warning sign that points toward failure. This echoes the early
work of Robert Ezra Parks at the University of Chicago in his study of the
28


urban scene. Parks argued that the anonymity provided by increased
population density led to the formation of specialized sub groups. These
mini populations came together and formed societies whose cultural values
reflected their own views, rather than the accepted norm of the greater
population. "The city makes it possible for different people to keep different
company; and a company of like characteristics can provide the moral
underpinnings for behavior which others might frown upon" (Hannerz
1980:25). So, to be an accepted member of the sub group, one only has to
meet the expectations of that group, which often is significantly less
demanding than the total population.
Park identified groups as avant-garde artistic colonies and ethnic gangs
as examples. It makes sense that it is this same theory that is at play when
a felon returns to his old friends, where he may even be regarded as some
form of "pop" hero for having been in prison. In such a group, to which he
belonged before he was apprehended for a crime, he faces few or no
sanctions against reverting back to the criminal lifestyle. On the other hand,
meaningful employment places the parolee in the presence of "normal
people" with "normal values" for forty hours or more per week. While in the
29


presence of other employees, the parolee has a greater tendency to live up
to the standards of the others which hopefully alleviates criminal tendencies.
One pragmatic ISP supervisor mentioned an obvious relationship of work
to recidivism avoidance that this investigator had not considered, although it
should be obvious. When the ex-offender is working full time, it means that
for forty hours a week he or she cannot revert to the behavior that caused
them to get in trouble in the first place. In addition, they may find
themselves too tired to be inclined to get into much trouble.
And so it seems to this investigator that meaningful employment brings
to bear upon the ex-offender significant pressures and benefits not present
in the lives of those transgressors that are not so engaged. This finding
suggests that, to at least some degree, the relationship between
employment and recidivism is in part causal.
30


CHAPTER THREE
JOB DEVELOPMENT AND PLACEMENT IN
COLORADO'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.
"Staff in nearly every program indicated
a need for expanded offender
employment opportunities"
(English and Mande 1991: 44).
This chapter is devoted to giving the reader a greater understanding of
the Colorado criminal justice system, and the attitudes and processes this
investigator found there related to the importance of employment to ex-
offenders. The State's criminal courts have a variety of sentencing options
for convicted criminals. A detailed description of this complex system is
beyond the purpose of this paper, but some knowledge of the process is
necessary to gain insight into what is happening, and what changes might
be considered regarding job development for ex-offenders. This
investigation used the well-known "snowball" method. Starting with one
cooperative and well-respected member of the system, this writer was
referred to various actors in each of the venues discussed. Several of these
31


referrals are supervisors in the departments where the interviews took
place, and their position and personal prestige opened many doors. In
every resulting interview, the informants were amazingly accommodating in
sharing their knowledge and expertise.
The options available to a sentencing judge are relatively wide. While
sentencing guidelines are mandated by the state's legislature, the judge still
retains considerable leeway. The reader will recall from the previous
chapter that upon conviction, a criminal justice score is prepared by the
prosecutor for the judge. This document's main purpose is to acquaint the
judge with the offender's perceived threat to society.
In terms of consequence to the offender, the lightest sentence available
to the judge would be probation under the supervision of the court's
probation officer. The level of supervision varies depending upon the
judge's determination, and can vary from one or two contacts per month, to
three or four a week. For offenders perceived as a greater risk to society,
the judge can sentence the lawbreaker to Intensive Supervision Probation
(ISP). It is in this area that are found the electronic monitoring devices and
house arrest. ISP officers maintain extremely close contacts with those
32


wrongdoers assigned to them. This is the closest punishment alternative to
internment. Revocation of ISP is not at the discretion of the probation
officer. Only the sentencing court can revoke probation, and remand the
transgressor to imprisonment. An ISP informant advised this investigator
that the courts do not take kindly to ISP approaching them for revocation of
parole on minor matters. Only violations of a severe nature will normally
entice the courts to imprison the miscreant. One factor playing a significant
role in this process is that the state courts cannot be sued. Should the
judge decide to, he or she can mandate confinement in either Community
Corrections or the Department of Corrections. This may be done at either at
the original sentencing decision, or at the revocation of probation.
Community Corrections, as has already been indicated, is set up in the
various state court districts, and is under the supervision of a Community
Corrections Board consisting of leading citizens and law officers of that
district. Sentencing into Community Corrections usually, but not always,
consists of confinement to a halfway house under the supervision of a Case
Manager, who is an employee of the facility. If confined under these
circumstances, the culprit is known as a diversion client.
33


The most severe punishment, with the exception of the rare death
sentence, is confinement in one of the state's Department of Corrections
prisons. Both the length of the sentence and the security level of the
correctional institution are issues that are considered in assignment to these
facilities. "The department has twenty-four prisons owned and operated by
the Department of Corrections throughout the state of Colorado. This
includes four prisons which are currently under construction or being
planned" (CO. DOC 1997: 12). The total average daily population (A.D.P.)
under the control of the DOC during fiscal 1997 was 15,822. "The average
inmate population for fiscal year 1997 was 12,205 while the total parole
population averaged 3,370. The Youthful Offender System contributed an
additional 247 A.D.P. to the total" (CO. DOC 1997: 2).
Those inmates leaving the DOC correctional facilities via parole granted
by the State's Parole Board, are placed under the jurisdiction of the DOC's
Division of Adult Parole Supervision. There they are assigned to a Parole
Officer who's duty it is to see that the offender meets all the terms of their
parole, which can vary between cases. An experienced Parole Officer in
the Denver metropolitan area can have a case load of up to 60 parolees.
34


Officers dealing with intensive supervised parolees will have a case load of
perhaps 20 to 24.
This investigation was limited to the Denver metropolitan area. Opinions
expressed during several interviews indicated that about 70% of the state's
parole population in to be found in this area. However, this investigator was
unable to find any statistical evidence to support these opinions. One
Parole Manager did indicate that the metropolitan area that he was
responsible for, the Denver and Englewood offices, had approximately 1100
active cases at the time of our meeting. The other parole divisions are: 1)
Northeast including the northern part of the Denver metro area, Greely, Ft.
Collins, and on up to Sterling; 2) Southeast, including Colorado Springs,
Pueblo, Cannon City, and Trinidad; 3) Western, including Grand Junction
and Durango.
One Parole Manager from the Denver area indicated that he had seen a
lot of interest in employment and job development back in the 1970's, but
this interest had diminished since then. His officers do have some contacts,
as did he when in that position, but they seem to be minimal, and could
always use more support. The parolees usually do not have the necessary
35


skills to find higher level employment. As a result, most find work in
unskilled occupations paying less than $8 per hour. He has seen
exceptions of course, citing one of his cases of some time ago who now
manages two McDonald restaurants. However, this individual had a college
degree and had been an army officer during the Vietnam War.
Mobility is a problem for those on parole. In fact, one previous day
reporting center was a failure because the only public transportation was a
bus line that served it poorly. Accordingly, location on public transportation
routes would be a significant plus to any employment opportunity. It should
be noted that the Denver Parole Manager's office can be readily visited from
anywhere in the district it serves. It is located in downtown Denver on the
16th St. Mall where it is served by the shuttle, which connects with light rail,
which in turn connects with most bus lines. Of considerable impact on
mobility for parolees is the fact that they are eligible to obtain a drivers
license, including a Commercial Drivers license, on the day they are
paroled. Clients, either transitional or diversion, still required to live in a
halfway house are not granted this privilege.
36


Parolees often are in a "survival mode". Poor in assets and lacking
kinship support, (i.e., lacking social capital), it is an extremely difficult time
when they first rejoin society. While the downtown parole office has no
funds for vocational training, they can pay up to $10 per day to support
parolees immediate lodging needs. The Parole Manager estimates are that
approximately 22 parolees are supported in this manner at all times. When
this writer suggested that some possibility existed for the formation of a
center for teaching offenders job obtaining techniques as well as doing job
development, the Parole Manager indicated that such a center would be of
help in a number of ways, to his officers as well as the offenders.
Subsequent interviews with a Parole Supervisor and a Parole Officer
echoed the words of the Parole Manager. Both officers expressed the
opinion that employment, and the issues that surround it, are extremely
important, although behind public safety and client treatment needs. But
the paradox between the importance of employment in exiting the Criminal
Justice System, and the little attention and resources given it continues.
These officers have some limited contacts with potential employers, but
describe them as almost non-existent. As with Case Managers in
Community Corrections, time constraints generally preclude any routine
37


regular effort to change this through job development. This is not to say that
they give it no attention; the supervisor maintains a job file with such
resources and contacts as have come to her attention, but advises that the
file is wholly inadequate and of little use. In the past they have used the
State's Job Service, but with uneven success. Both feel strongly that any
new significant effort toward job development would be of great utility. They
have treatment suppliers to whom they can refer clients for their needs in
violence control, drug rehabilitation and such, but no valued job placement
function that they can refer clients to.
Parole Officers do use temporary employment services, since they are
not required to make the random phone calls to verify the clients
whereabouts as Community Corrections is. This is not to say they will not
contact employers as needed, but clearly these contacts are not as intrusive
to the employers workday as in Community Corrections. Also, while they
match the criminal record to the potential job to avoid temptation, there is no
employment evaluation form used. It was agreed that such a form could be
helpful and perhaps should be completed as part of the prison release
procedure, then forwarded to them or any other receiving part of the system.
It occurs to this writer that this might consist of two parts, one of which
38


could be some form of resume to present to potential employers.
Additionally, there is no brochure or other document available to present to
potential employers that explains the process.
Both officers indicated that they almost never intervene in such a fashion
that would cost a client their job, and that they will cooperate with employers
who contact them and indicate that a problem is developing. The issue of
women's employment also came up as needing attention, although they
tentatively agreed that women seem to do better in the job market than do
the men.
Very early in the development stage of this investigation, this writer
asked a highly placed and respected member of the State's Department of
Public Safety about the current status of rehabilitation efforts in the DOC.
His reply was that "rehabilitation wasn't funded". While this study did not
attempt to investigate this aspect, this reply seems to be substantially
correct. However, efforts to upgrade the offender's chances for success in
the future are being made, although not under the title of rehabilitation. In
addition to academic and vocational education programs, work training is
occurring. Programs devoted to heavy equipment operation, welding, and
39


janitorial service were among those mentioned. The heavy equipment
program appears to be particularly successful, with repeated references to
the fact that its graduates "don't come back". Private sector jobs of this type
frequently pay in excess of $40,000 per year, small wonder these felons
"don't come back". Whether you call it rehabilitation, or improving cultural
capital, these activities are clearly worthwhile.
Skills learned in prison industries do have value. The case of a prison-
trained carpenter that resulted in a positive outcome was discussed. At the
time of our interview they had a client with welding skills, a skill currently in
demand, but no pathway to place him. Through other contacts and
readings, this author has a growing sense that some changes in this
process, say reviewing which skills the market is calling for, could be very
helpful in shifting prison industry skills taught. Research involving potential
employers might be very helpful in this area allowing for a "pull through"
system from prison to employer, rather than a "push through". By way of
explanation, some inmates of the prison system are instructed in some very
sophisticated janitorial skills, with the expectation that they will find
employment at above the poverty wage level. Unfortunately, all too often
neither the desired wage level nor the job itself is forthcoming. This is a
40


situation that this writer sees as "push through". But if a particular labor
demand could be identified in the job market, and then the inmates trained
to meet this demand, they would have an improved potential for successful
employment. This could be referred to as "pull through" job preparation.
Parole Officers do feel an obligation toward job placement, but, as noted
above, the actual effort expended is minimal. Also, they seldom accompany
clients to job interviews. The final analysis continues to be, as it is in
Community Corrections, agreement on the importance of employment, but
little or no job development activity. This apparently is aggravated by a lack
of funds to do the job, and perhaps a lack of expertise on how to deal with
the private business segment of our society. But all agree it is worth doing,
and it clearly can be done if the needed resources and expertise is
provided.
As mentioned previously, this writer also met with several members of
Community Corrections. Interviews with several Case Managers in three
different halfway houses indicated that employment there too takes a
position significantly less important than public safety or client counseling
needs. The first Case Manager interviewed indicated that she spent little
41


time at job development, and had not received any training for it. She
described her employment contacts as "very poor". She knew of no form
relating to the evaluation of a client's needs and abilities. There is however
an employment verification form that must be completed by the employer
and returned to the case manager assuring that the employer was aware of
the client's criminal record. The employers are free to contact the Case
Managers, but issues of confidentiality prohibit the Case Manager from
discussing the details of the record.
No effort is made to convince the potential employer that the Case
Managers are doing an effective screening job on the client. Through a
process generally referred to as "matching", the criminal background of the
offender is compared to the available jobs. The outcome is that the offender
knows as he or she begins their job search that certain types of jobs are
closed to them. These informants advised that Case Managers never
accompany clients on job interviews. Subsequent interviews confirmed that
this is almost the universal practice, not only in Community Corrections, but
also throughout the criminal justice system. It was further learned that no
literature exists that outlines for potential employers some of the positive
aspects of hiring a halfway house client. After all, these people are subject
42


to random urine analysis and their behavior is under constant scrutiny. It
was mentioned several times that these clients are on a "short leash", and
almost invariably show up for work on time. Further, such literature could
acquaint potential employers of the job matching that goes on, as well as
offers of cooperation in dealing with any on the job problems in the future.
Community Corrections has some mandated restrictions of compliance
that are troublesome to employment outcomes. Case Managers are
required by law to contact employers by random phone calls twice a week.
The purpose of these calls is to verify that the clients are where they are
supposed to be. Employers reportedly find these calls annoying and
intrusive to the conduct of their business. To make matters worse, some
halfway house Directors require their Case Managers to make as many as
four and five such calls per week. This naturally worsens the relationship
with the employer, but this informant felt that the policy had a positive effect
on controlling the client, and led to more successful outcomes.
A second severe restriction to Community Correction's clients is the
prohibition of driver's licenses. While transportation is allowed if furnished
by others, such as a client's family member or even the employer
43


themselves, clients may not drive a motor vehicle while confined to a
halfway house. This of course increases the mobility problem that almost all
ex-offenders face.
Case Managers do feel an obligation to mediate job problems if they can,
and will do so. One Case Manager volunteered that some of the reasons
that a client will leave a job, even when they do not have another one lined
up are: difficulty with the front line supervisor, they don't like the job, and
irresponsibility on the part of the client. Difficulty with the supervisor was
mentioned by several of the interviewees, and not only from Community
Corrections.
In yet another halfway house, Case Managers, in cooperation with
another staff member, devote about 10% of their time in job development,
but they describe their placement contacts as poor. Neighboring
businesses do offer some ongoing relationships with one such company
having a history of hiring approximately 15 clients over the years, but their
pay standard is not very high. No record of continued employment after
leaving the influence of the halfway house was known. Again, no formal
44


pre-employment evaluation form is utilized, but a high priority is placed on
"matching" the job to the criminal record.
If a client fails to find a job unaided within ten days or so, the Case
Manager starts pushing them to show more effort in their job search, and
encourage them to "take what you can get". These Case Managers
indicated that their clients have low job skills and almost no employment
history. In addition they lack social skills such as how to fill out a job
application. In anthropological terms, they lack cultural and social capital.
Expressions of such deficiencies among ex-offenders were reported by
many members of the CJS throughout this investigation. These informants
indicated that skills learned in prison industries can be helpful, but not in a
high percent of the cases. A "Butcher Certificate" was mentioned as being
issued in the past, but no one could recall if it led to employment in that
field. Further, they had not heard of one for some time. One halfway house
Director feels that some of the employers take advantage of the client's
vulnerable position, although he did not elaborate. He also verified that
employers don't like all the constraints imposed on the clients, particularly
the attendance verification phone calls which are considered intrusive and
45


time consuming. After placement, most of the contact with employers deals
exclusively with attendance.
In a third halfway house, issues of public safety also take precedence
over everything else. Case Managers there also match the criminal record
to all proposed jobs, controlling for potential situations that might give the
client opportunities to repeat previous offenses. Also, positions of trust are
usually avoided. Accordingly, jobs in such places as hospitals or day care
centers are eliminated.
Some other issues that were brought out at this halfway house were:
1. The client must be under constant direct supervision of someone at the
employers place of business, and are not allowed to supervise other clients
under DOC or Court control.
2. Temporary services are not favored since the contract between the client
and the temp service usually precludes direct phone calls to verify
whereabouts of the client while at the temp service's customer.
46


3. The Case Managers here indicated that telephone solicitor companies
are not deemed desirable employers since they tend to fail in reporting
client absences. Also, the clients are typically "con men" and good at
influencing and manipulating the public. They feel that this type of
employment raises issues of public safety.
4. Responsibility is new and foreign to most clients, and this presents job
problems.
5. Very few of the clients get fired. More likely the halfway house staff
would "pull the plug", for a variety of reasons. This is in direct contrast to
the view of the Parole Officers referenced earlier.
6. Satisfactory employers must be willing to "work with" the halfway house
staff. Examples of this cooperation would be for the employer to phone the
Case Manager as soon as the client is not performing as required, such as
arriving late, not showing up at all, or being troublesome on the job.
7. This halfway house does have some favored employers that have
worked closely with them over the years in meeting the needs of all
concerned. The Case Managers are reluctant to send these favored
47


employers any client that might foul up this relationship. This suggests to
this writer that these employers tend to get the "cream of the crop".
8. Clients at halfway houses are in fact almost always repeat offenders.
First and second time offenders are often given probation. These
informants see this as the outcome of the offense being plea-bargained
down, and view the situation as getting worse.
9. In the past, according to these halfway house staff members, it was not
unusual for a client to stay for 12 to 18 months. This is now a rarity, with the
average stay now more like 3 to 4 months. This means that the process of
stabilization of the client is diminished greatly, and they often revert to old
bad habits shortly after leaving the controlled structure that the halfway
house provides.
The English and Mande study of Community Corrections confirmed that
placement in halfway houses is now a short-term event. "Thirty percent of
the group stayed in the program less than 2 months; 23% stayed 3-4
months. Nearly half (47%) stayed longer than four months. Very few
stayed longer than one year. Transition clients in the study group stayed for
48


an average of 21 weeks (the median was 18 weeks); the average length of
stay for Diversion Clients was also 18 weeks (the Diversion median was 13
weeks)" (English and Mande 1991:22)
10. Clients tend to do what they want to upon leaving the system. Even
those with significant funds when leaving may "blow" it all in a few riotous
days.
11. Case Managers confirmed that clients under their control are not
permitted to enter into contracts, including marriage, or drive a vehicle
without specific prior approval which often involves clearing it with their DOC
liaison in cases involving transitional clients.
This halfway house does have a full time job developer on their staff. He
spends all of his workweek in some variation of the efforts needed to
perform his job. He has had about 30 hours training in job development,
most of which came from an independent contractor. He described his
employer contacts as good, and seems comfortable with them. He does not
have any employment evaluation form to aid in determining client needs.
He views skills learned in "prison industries" as of little value. Too often
49


they lead a client to unrealistic expectations such as being paid $12 per
hour for janitorial work which actually pays about half of that.
The Job Developer feels that many clients work only because the house
requires it. Too often, once they get away from the "big brother"
atmosphere, they fail. He feels that they just cannot seem to, or do not
want to, stand on their own two feet.
Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) usually deals only with offenders
aged 18 or above, with an occasional 16 or 17 year old with a particularly
bad history. Their clients are usually assigned to them directly by the
courts, with some relatively rare cases out of DOC as a result of sentence
reconsideration by the court. An experienced ISP supervisor expressed
what proved to be an oft-repeated theme; the prime consideration in their
work is above all public safety.
As mentioned previously, assignment to ISP is the closest thing to being
consigned to the prison system, which is where their failures usually wind
up. One ISP supervisor interviewed has a staff of 17 probation officers,
50


each with a caseload of approximately 20 to 22 active cases and an
estimated 10 to 15 inactive. Inactive cases are those still under their
supervision, but engaged in some program with issues such as drug or
alcohol addiction, and violence abatement. Clients might also be assigned
to the County Jail work release program, which releases them only for
employment purposes, with all leisure time required to be served in jail. A
fair estimate of the total population of the Denver District Court ISP clients at
the time of this interview would be about 320 active and 130 inactive.
Approximately one half of their clients come from the Drug Court, and it was
this officer that suggested that attendance at a Drug Court session for about
an hour or two should prove informative. That experience was indeed
enlightening and is described later in this paper.
Normally, ISP is divided into two phases. Successful completion of
phase one, which is more restrictive, for approximately 90 days entitles the
client to enter the more lenient phase two. Thereafter, success in phase
two for some 90 days normally leads to assignment out of ISP into regular
probation. Phase one might require a 9PM curfew, urine analysis once or
twice a week, a field visit to the client's residence once a week, and some
employer contact. Phase two would diminish these restrictions somewhat to
51


perhaps a 10PM curfew, urine analysis every two weeks, less frequent
residence visits and so forth. The department deals with relatively minor
infractions, but major infractions are brought to the attention of the
sentencing court with recommendation of assignment to DOC. As
previously discussed, the courts discourage the practice of bringing minor
violations before them.
In discussing the relative importance of employment to successful
completion of probation, this supervisor indicated that, while extremely
important, the level of importance varies from client to client. For example,
if drug usage is present, it must be dealt with first. It was from this source
that one of the first insightful comments regarding the role of employment in
an offender's life was expressed to this writer. When a client is working, he
or she cannot revert to the behavior that caused them to get into trouble in
the first place. This may seem to be simplistic and obvious, but as was
seen in chapter two, the relative importance of employment is basic. The
reader should be aware that this factor is embroiled within a very complex
and stressful social scene.
52


ISP Probation Officers have a "duty to warn" prospective employers
concerning the criminal history of the client. It must be divulged to
employers, and confirmation of that fact in writing is mandatory. This "duty
to warn", which is an issue of public safety, also requires that the client not
be placed in an inappropriate situation related to their past problems. Thus,
a child molester is not permitted to work in a school or childcare center, nor
an embezzler work around cash. This is another example of the "matching"
process, and appears to be universal to the CJS. Employers may be made
aware of the criminal history and the nature of the offense, but issues of
confidentiality prohibit the specific details being revealed. For example, if
the felon had committed a crime of violence, this could be divulged, but not
the victim's name or the location of the offense.
This ISP supervisor's understanding is that his staff have not had much,
if any, training in job development. Each officer has their own ways of doing
things, but usually they outsource employment needs, say to the
Department of Labor or Job Service. When advised of the National Institute
of Corrections (NIC) training program in job development, he felt that freeing
up his staff from their probationary responsibilities for the required 36 hours
would be impractical.
53


When this investigator outlined the goals of a proposed employment
center for offenders, which will be discussed later in this paper, the
informant felt certain that it would be of benefit to his department and would
be well used. Of perhaps greatest importance in the outcome of this
interview was the realization by this author, that public safety demands that
the control of the offender, including their relationship with the employer,
remain firmly in the hands of the parole or probation officer. This could be
tricky, but solvable. At the conclusion of our interview, the supervisor
agreed to this author interviewing one of his ISP officers in direct control of
some members of the offender population. That meeting proved quite
fortuitous.
The ISP officer turned out to be particularly well educated and
experienced. He holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in criminal
justice, and has been in this type of work for some 20 years. His experience
indicates that offenders will find a way to survive, although most of us find
some of their ways unconventional to say the least. He offered some
extremely insightful remarks regarding the offender profile, speaking in
generalities of course. Typically, offenders will not take responsibility for
54


their actions. They have low education levels, usually caused by poor
school experiences in their youth. Not only that, but they can't seem to
grasp the need for further adult education, which should not stress
academics, but rather to teach skills needed in normal lifestyles. This is a
major deterrent to their success. Drug users see themselves as disabled,
due largely to the fact that they feel so poorly most of the time. Since most
have achieved little success in their lives, they are accustomed to failure,
which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Often drug or alcohol dependency has led to retardation of the
maturation process, a situation this author has seen in young people outside
the criminal justice system. Many of the offenders are youthful (age
demographic statistics of prison populations confirm this), and crime hits
them at this extremely crucial stage of life when they are seeking a career, a
spouse, and the other stabilizing factors sought by all of us.
The officer pointed out that many of these wrongdoers participate in
activities that he referred to as "street crimes". Felonies such as theft,
burglary, violence and the like, are the very type of crime that plays upon the
public's worst fears. After all, an embezzler of two million dollars is not
55


viewed as much of a threat to most of us as is a burglar. The end result is
that these culprits develop a mind set that might be called the "criminal
identity" personality. The reader should keep in mind that much crime is
exciting to do, not routine and boring as working for a living often is.
Another unusual aspect brought out in this interview is the fact that some of
these clients have had severe head injuries from auto accidents or bar
fights. This may have left them with brain damage that makes it difficult for
them to behave normally. For example, they know what they want to say,
but often have problems choosing the correct words. Some employers are
aware of this and request a neurology assessment, but since these cost in
the range of $600, they are not required by the courts.
This officer agrees with the premise that jobs are an unmistakable
advantage for offenders leaving the criminal justice system. It was during
this interview that many of the unique aspects of employment to the criminal
population reported in the previous chapter were revealed to this writer.
Many offenders find jobs by pleading that they have made a mistake or two,
but are now ready to go "straight". Some employers find such a plea
difficult to refuse. It is this officer's experience that client violence on the job
is extremely rare. Also, offenders are no more likely to steal from their
56


employer than is any other "normal" employee. He remarked further that
after all; "most theft experienced by business is committed by employees".
The informants response to the question that perhaps employer front
line supervisors should have special training was positive. "It certainly
wouldn't hurt. They need the 'patience of a saint'". Offenders never get
complemented, and few employers hand out such complements. But
success breeds success, and most of these people have never experienced
any. They tend to overreact to any criticism or rejection. The limited
thought process many have is often coupled with little work experience,
which often prevents them from appropriate performance on the job (such
as asking the boss "what's next" upon completion of a task), or from seeing
any possible career path. He cited an example where a client took a job
pumping gas, and then, two weeks into the job, following a conversation
with a mechanic at the same employer, quit because he now determined he
wanted to be a mechanic. He couldn't see the training and progression
involved. Since most offenders have poor reading skills, they do not react
favorably to written instructions, such as memos. Nor do they react well to
metaphors and examples. Their thinking pattern requires straight, simple
sentences. Such as; do this first, and when done, do this. Due in large to
57


limited job history, these people often just don't know how to work, and like
a youngster on their first job, they must be clearly told what is expected of
them.
Among sources of problems on the job, the officer indicated that when
an offender gets into difficulties on the job, they will often hide that fact from
their boss. Also, time off needed to keep required appointments with the
courts or Probation Officer, is too often either unexplained to the employer
or called in as sick time. Further, when only 2 hours may be needed, the
offender will take the whole day off. One informant, with a long history of
supervising ex-offenders for his company confirmed this. If proper
communication does not take place, the employer, who is in the dark about
the real problem, cannot be sympathetic or helpful. This can result in
termination. However, as with more normal new hires, the first couple of
weeks are usually a "honeymoon".
This officer concurs that the relationship between employment and
recidivism is robust. It is his view that, in part for the reasons previously
mentioned, there are some aspects of causality to the relationship. But
avoidance of recidivism, he suggests, perhaps more accurately reflects the
58


attitude of the offender toward how he or she is going to live out their life.
Again, in anthropological terms, this perspective is seen as cultural capital.
The ex-offender may have had a positive shift of attitude. Lawful behavior is
clearly cultural capital, and when joined with meaningful employment,
permits the individual to participate successfully and legally in our society.
One further comment of interest is that ISP is seeing more women in the
system now. This may be due in part to the fact that more women are now
employed, which puts them in the proximity of opportunities for criminal
behavior that does not exist in the home. Also, the observation, spoken half
in jest, that Probation Officers tire of seeing outcomes of drug abuse, and
say, tongue in cheek, that it would be nice to see a "real" criminal once in
awhile.
As the illegal use of drugs increased over recent years, prosecution of
these culprits tended to clog the courts, resulting in greater delays in
determining outcomes of all trials. To relieve this situation, a special Drug
Court was created in the State of Colorado, 2nd Judicial District, which is
the Denver District Court. This court deals specifically and exclusively with
drug related charges. This initiative was driven in part by the realization that
59


many of those charged under controlled substance statutes were as much
addicts as criminals, and that their needs differed from other offender
issues. This raises the issue of whether drug use is a matter of criminality
or of public health.
In February of 1998, at the suggestion of an ISP officer, this author
attended a session of the Drug Court. During the time spent observing the
court, from 9:50AM until 11:30AM, the Court processed 25 offenders.
Some of these hearings were new cases, but most were offenders under
the jurisdiction of the court reporting on their current status. That is less
than 5 minutes per case. A young woman magistrate presided. The
audience numbered approximately fifty-five persons. This author's notes
indicate that new defendants, and those reporting to the court (most
frequently to present outcomes of required urine analysis) totaled
approximately 19 males and 6 females. Several males, perhaps as many
as six, were handcuffed and dressed in orange jump suits, indicating that
they were currently in custody. The magistrate brought up the subject of
employment about 8 times. This represents about 40% of those who came
before her, when you eliminate the men who were in prison uniforms.
Apparently, the magistrate attaches a good deal of importance to the
60


benefits of paid employment. When a client indicated no employment, the
magistrate mentioned a "Job Club" and referred them to it. Subsequent
investigation revealed that the Job Club is an in-house effort of the court to
enhance employability through education, resume writing, and other
employment related programs. This investigator followed up with a meeting
with the Job Club director which is described below.
One of the few, yet best organized efforts to improve offender skills
needed for successful job hunting is occurring under the auspices of the
Drug Court. This is the referred to "Job Club". During this meeting with the
director of the Job Club, the core concepts of the initiative were outlined as
follows. The order of importance of each of these concepts varies from
client to client depending upon that individual's needs.
1. What are the offender's interests and attitude? A computer program is
used in determining the career interests of the offenders. When finished,
this evaluation prints out six job interest areas upon which to base decisions
and career directions.
61


2. A strong attempt is made to make the offenders understand what is at
the heart of potential employer's decisions, i.e., that employees must
contribute in such a fashion that they make money (profit) for the employer.
This concept seems to be lacking in the understanding of the clients. Also,
the employer's need and desire for motivated employees is emphasized.
3. Clients are assessed for learning style, so that they can be successful on
the job, and hopefully progress along some sort of career path.
Most of these concepts are exercised in group, rather than individual,
sessions. These meetings were formerly held at the Denver City and
County building at 3 PM Friday, and lasted approximately one hour.
Recently however, the program has been expanded to a weeklong effort,
and now has separate offices that include a meeting room that can handle
about 20 participants. The program consists of half-day morning sessions
covering a wide variety of life skill issues. It retains the job counseling
aspects previously described, and the clients may return in the afternoon for
individual attention.
62


Of considerable interest are the perceived comparison between the
beliefs of the offenders and those of the potential employers. The Job Club
Director feels that the offenders place too much negative importance on
their record. They are too quick to blame failure to obtain a job on their
criminal record. The Director sees this as a form of denial that allows the
wrongdoers to rationalize, or ignore, other negative aspects such as
appearance, few work skills, poor work history, or any other factor that
employers review. The Job Club emphasizes quite strongly that, while any
criminal record should not be hidden, neither should it be over emphasized.
The Drug Court has a process that is perhaps unique to their function.
Defendants convicted may or may not be immediately sentenced. Since
addiction is often involved, the Court may put the defendant on "hold", that
is, delay sentencing while treatment is obtained. This seems to this writer
as a sort of trial probation, and the guilty defendant may escape the final
verdict of guilty if his or her conduct satisfies the Court. Accordingly, the Job
Club personnel remind their clients who are in this predicament that there is,
after all, a distinction between being "charged" with a felony, and being
"convicted" of a felony. If a client experiences success on the job, and
avoids dysfunctional behavior, the charge can be dropped, and no criminal
record established. The Director explained that it is important that such
nuances be explained during job interviews.
63


Up to 75% of Job Club clients do not have a high school diploma. The
"Club" assists their clients in the preparation of a proper resume. Resumes
are, after all, a real stumbling block for these job applicants, as it is for any
applicant, at least until an impressive work history has been developed.
The Job Club does not work with all the offenders processed through the
Drug Court. In its two and one half years existence (1998), they have
worked with approximately 490 clients out of the some 4000 under the
control of the Court. Job Club clients are typically the ones that cannot
seem to find or hold a job.
Referrals of clients to the Job Club come from three main sources:
1. Pretrial Drug Court Officers, of which there are two, with one more
planned.
2. Probation Officers, both regular and ISP. Thus far, this avenue has
accounted for an estimated 80% of their referrals.
3. The Drug Court Judge or Magistrate. When I recounted my experience
in observing the Drug Court in action, when 40% of the non-jail offenders
64


were referred to them, the Director seemed encouraged, indicating they
have been striving for the Court to emphasize employment more vigorously.
The Job Club makes little effort in the direction of job development,
although they do have some contacts. The rationale, which appears quite
valid, is that highly skilled clients rarely come before them. Thus, should a
welder appear, it might happen only once a year, so why try to develop a
base of employers looking for welders? This attitude toward job
development is not unique to the Job Club. Almost all of the input from
various branches of the criminal justice system reflects some variation of
this theme. The question arises, does the concept of job development need
some form of a new and better design, or are the rewards in terms of
outcome not commensurate with the effort that must be expended?
65


CHAPTER FOUR
HINDRANCES TO EMPLOYMENT
"There was an overwhelming unwillingness to
hire ex-offenders convicted of violent and sexual
crimes, and crimes against children"
(Albright 1996:133).
The obstacles to locating meaningful work for the ex-offender group are
extensive, to say the least, and difficult to overcome. What emerges, and
becomes abundantly clear, is the complexity of the process. When the litany
of hurdles they must deal with is examined, one begins to see how easy it is
for them to fail. Some of these problems are of their own making, but many
are not. The reader should recognize that the thousands of felons in
Colorado's prison system were not bom mentally defective. While
examination of the causes of crime is outside the purpose of this paper,
some understanding of the results of their life experiences are necessary.
There can be no doubt that members of this offender group must leam to
take full responsibility for their actions. But, we must keep in mind that many
have been victims of inequality. It behooves us all to keep in mind William
Ryan's term of "Blaming the Victim, --justifying inequality by finding defects in
66


the victims of inequality..." (Ryan 1976:xiii). This chapter will scrutinize some
of the barriers ex-felons face in seeking meaningful employment.
This writer is of the opinion that perhaps the most tragic of these
hindrances, no matter how it came about, is the low educational level of
these actors. One experienced educator, who is deeply involved in the
educational resources available to the offenders while they are incarcerated,
voiced the opinion that in todays complex society a ninth grade education is
necessary to hold a job. Many of these wrongdoers simply did not attain that
level before running afoul of the law. Happily, the Colorado Legislature has
mandated that educational opportunities within the Criminal Justice System
must be comparable to those in our normal society. Serious efforts are
made to upgrade this population while in the system. As important as this
matter is, only three percent of the Colorado DOC budget is directed toward
this effort. Clearly, lack of literacy is not only a major hindrance to
employment, it negatively impacts the process of living what we prefer to call
a "normal life style.
67


In his marvelous book, "A is for OX", Barry Sanders examines the
outcome of illiteracy, not for the prison population, but for everyone. Of
particular interest is the description he gives of the work of the Soviet
psychologist Alexander Luria. In the 1930's, Luria did some important work
in Uzbekistan and Kirghzia where he worked with mostly non-literates. He
learned that these remote peasants could not conceptualize abstract
thought, and took the position that only literacy allows it, including a clear
concept of "self. In response to abstract questions such as description, they
resorted to adamant statements from real life experience. Luria postulated
that they could not use deductive logic. The case is made that this is
perhaps the way of all non-literates, although many anthropologists would
not agree with these findings.
Sanders reinforces the issue that literacy is crucial to the concept of self
in contemporary industrialized societies. In fact, those who are literate have
difficulty understanding the thought process of those who are not, for our
pre-literate experience dates to our dimly remembered childhood. He argues
that illiteracy creates hollow shells of people in our society. Not only does he
postulate that most members of society cannot understand how these
lawbreakers think, he brings in to question the very basic concept of our
68


prison system. "It will do no good to lock up these young people. The
efficacy of the penal system rests on the basic civilizing matrix of a
conscience and a sense of remorse-feelings of guilt and thus a desire to
change" (Sanders 1994:78). This suggests that our society's reliance on
imprisonment as punishment may be flawed, for the inmates view the world
differently. While illiteracy or low educational levels may be seen as factors
leading to criminal behavior, it must be remembered that not all who suffer
these hindrances turn to crime.
Mr. Sanders is not alone in his stance concerning this critical aspect of
cultural capital that we call literacy. Others have discovered similar
outcomes when researching individuals whose early schooling was
incomplete or dysfunctional. "During the formative years of cognitive
development, my informants; socializers did not stress literacy. This resulted
in permanent linguistic impairment, which in it worst form left informants
unable to verbalize complex emotion, and left them without the cognitive
skills required to process complex thinking issues" (Fleisher 1995: 65). This
view was essentially confirmed by one experienced ISP officer who
contributed the insightful remarks described earlier. This officer also viewed
the majority of his clients as "concrete thinkers", which he described as
69


black-or-white thinking such as one finds in a child. This "concrete" thinking
leads to problems in employment. "They may purposely screw up an
assignment much as a child will, simply because they don't want to do it".
As we have seen, such behavior on the job may relate to the lack of the
background anthropologists choose to call cultural capital. Some of the
principal factors in preparing these individuals for their job search in our
highly industrialized and urbanized society are found in this domain. Many
members of the ex-offender group must be coached on how to prepare a
resume, how to fill out an application, how to maintain eye contact with
potential employers, as well as how to dress for the interview. While few of
us become proficient in applying for a job, since we do it so seldom, much of
the required behavior was drilled into us by our parents or learned in other
settings. If an applicant exhibits a lack of this normal socialization, should it
come as a surprise that such a candidate will not be at the top of the list for
hiring?
The impact of nurturing upon the personality of young children is well
known. "Children whose families were never able to convey to them a sense
of being valued and a feeling of coherence are in a poor position to cope
70


with the world of school or work. They are likely to be in deep trouble by the
time they become adolescents" (Schorr 1989:141). The prison population
has reached adulthood, and interventions designed to redress the wrongs of
childhood are not known to this writer. The child's resulting warped view of
how the world works is summed up by one writer in the term "defensive
worldview". "A defensive worldview has six traits: a feeling of vulnerability
and need to protect oneself; a belief that no one can be trusted; a need to
maintain social distance; a willingness to use violence and intimidation to
repel others; an attraction to similarly defensive people; and an expectation
that no one will provide aid" (Fleisher 1995:104).
The outcome of this so-called defensive worldview appears to this writer
to identify with criminal behavior. "A defensive worldview is recognized by its
emphasis on self-protection, suspicion, impulsiveness, insensitivity, reliance
on physical force, propensity for risk-taking behavior, and a reluctance to
become socially intimate" (Fleisher 1995:104). As an obstruction to finding
and holding a decent job, the ramifications of this personality are immense.
"People who carry a defensive worldview may misinterpret social situations
and, from our perspective, say the wrong things and behave badly in those
situations; they are likely to be unaware of these miscues and feel as if they
71


are behaving and speaking the 'right way"' (Fleisher 1995: 106). Many
poorly educated people just do not fare well in our society. They have
difficulty finding and holding decent employment. The anthropological
perspective would emphasize that the contextual constraints found in their
upbringing are at the heart of the problems being encountered in adulthood.
Additionally, as was reported earlier, informants repeatedly indicated that
it is common for releasees from the criminal justice system to lack a support
group. Communication with, and through, various friends and kinship
members is a leading method of obtaining employment. In his investigation
of the impact of tire plant closings in an Ohio city, and the resulting chronic
unemployment, Gregory Pappas verifies the importance of a support group.
"Most people I interviewed preferred to turn to their network of friends and
relatives. Working people know about their employers' job openings, and
friends or relatives can often help the job seeker 'get in at' the place where
they themselves work. In this way several generations of a family come to
work in a particular plant" (Pappas 1989:37). Such a support group is a
classic example of an anthropologist's view of social capital at work in our
complex industrialized economy. Small wonder that many ex-felons have
difficulty finding good jobs, for they often lack this informal network of friends
72


and kinship. The criminal justice professionals that contributed to this study
acknowledge the need for an ongoing support group. Their view is that the
absence of one in the traditional sense can be at least partially replaced by a
public continuum of aid in clothing, food, and shelter. This author would add
support in finding suitable employment to that list.
A support group consisting of friends and relatives can do much more for
a job seeker than find employment opportunities. Such a time can be
devastating to one's self esteem and morale. The classic book on job
hunting advises anyone engaged in this process:
"to enlist some of your family or close friends specifically to
help you with your emotional, social, and spiritual needs, when
you are going through a difficult transition period, such as a job
hunt or career-change so that you do not have to face this
time all by yourself (Bolles 1999:125).
In addition to this group having poor social capital, which we have defined
as "knowing the right people", we must continually return to their shortfall in
the cultural capital attributes that may readily be converted into income. One
of the most significant factors in cultural capital, educational level, has
already been discussed. They are also in short-supply in work skills and
73


work history. Work skills involve much more than marketable abilities and
experience. There are, of course, some who are well educated and have
skills that are in demand, but they are exceptions. Members of this
population have often never been exposed to a same sex role model who
values work. The men in this group frequently never observed their father,
or other male relative, going off to work on a regular basis. The result is a
poor or non-existent work ethic. As mentioned earlier, many in the offender
population simply do not know how to work. They lack punctuality and the
ability to cooperate with others, so important in matters of job retention.
When an employer hires someone to fill a job opening, the expectations are
that this work ethic will be there. Too often it isn't, which makes it difficult for
the releasee to hold onto the job, no matter how desperately it is needed.
Some other frequently mentioned factors exhibited by these
transgressors are the unwillingness to accept direction, and inability to take
responsibility for their actions. Several informants indicated that this
manifested itself as trouble on the job is several ways. Difficulty with the
supervisor was cited several times. The miscreant perceived that his boss
was "out to get him", and that "he knew what he was doing". There may well
be an element of truth in these charges. Even when a company's
74


management wants to hire ex-felons, the front line supervisor may decide to
make certain that the outcome is negative. This situation is not unique to
these circumstances. Lower level management often sabotages the
intentions of the higher ups. So it seems appropriate to get the lower level
supervisor to buy into any hiring procedure, which suggests some type of
special training. Irresponsibility of the ex-offender on the job also leads to
termination. Claims of "I didn't like the job" are apparently common.
Yet another of the most serious constraints blocking employment is
mobility. These ex-prisoners have difficulty in finding and holding jobs, in
part, because they are often forced to rely on public transportation. It must
be remembered that public transportation does not serve all potential
employer's place of business well. One case manager in the Denver District
Drug Court's Job Club initiative, discussed earlier, eases this problem
through the simple, yet effective, process of keeping a "fish bowl" on his
desk containing a supply of bus tokens. He admonishes his clients to help
themselves to what they need, although he confided in me later that he knew
who would use the tokens properly, and those who would try to abuse the
system.
75


As previously reported, clients still living in halfway houses are not
permitted to have a driver's license. This group is in fact prohibited from
entering into any contractual agreement, including marriage, without the
approval of their Case Manager or, if a transitional client, the approval of the
Department of Corrections. Once an offender is granted parole, this
restriction against having a driver's license is lifted. This is true even if their
prior offense was vehicular homicide. However, the parolee too often does
not have the resources to purchase a vehicle so as to take advantage of this
opportunity. So, mobility remains a tremendous obstacle.
The issues discussed above appear to this writer to be the most
significant deterrents to meaningful employment, but there are many others.
Employers are concerned about issues of insurance and bonding.
Fortunately, the State makes programs available that overcome these
objections, but potential employers are often not aware of these
opportunities. In addition to health problems such as drug or alcohol
addiction, this group has other severe social problems. Personal cleanliness
is a factor, as are deficiencies in wardrobes and ready cash. Troubled
relationships with a spouse or significant other are habitually present. Also,
76


basic skills on filling out job applications, doing job interviews, and following
up on potential employers are either deficient or non existent.
Offenders have been marginalized, with some members of society
demanding its "pound of flesh". Potential employers have grave reservations
about exposing their other employees to possible violence in the work place.
However, informants consistently reported that such violence is rare. One
parole official with over 30 years of experience could recall only two such
instances. In his opinion, violence usually occurs off the job or when the
felon is unemployed.
Public opinion can operate against the parolee in other ways as well.
Many people raise the question of why should offenders be helped when so
many "honest and upright" citizens are competing for the same jobs. In a
similar vein, some members of the criminal justice system feel that the
majority, if not all, of the responsibility for finding work rests with the client.
They feel that the client won't value the job if it is "handed" to them, and that
releasees must leam to view themselves as competent and competitive.
Prison industries, where employment skills may be learned in the production
77


of goods sold to the private sector, are not well received either. They are
perceived by many as unfair competition to private sector businesses.
This author has intended to provide the reader with a clearer, more
informed, understanding of some of the difficulties that must be faced and
overcome in order to successfully reintegrate ex-offenders into society where
matters of employment are involved. Unfortunately, several of the
informants interviewed during this investigation reported that these issues
seem to be growing worse as the clients they receive have more and more
troubled histories. The obstacles to decent employment are varied and
substantial. Other researchers have come to similar conclusions.
Despite the apparent importance of employment, it is often
difficult for prison releasees to obtain jobs. They face a variety of
employment barriers, caused by poor work histories, low skill
levels, prejudice on the part of potential employers, statutory
restrictions and similar factors. In addition, the time immediately
following release from prison may be a critical adjustment period,
requiring the releasee to deal successfully with a large number of
problems (Toborg 1977: ix).
78


CHAPTER FIVE
JOB DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
AND RECOMMENDATIONS
"Yet increasing concentrations of joblessness
have been consistently associated with
urban crime." (Donziger 1996: 126)
The relationship of employment and recidivism has been recognized for
at least two decades, and perhaps longer. Accordingly, employment service
attempts are not a new endeavor, and they take a variety of forms. "More
than 250 such programs exist and offer a wide range of services, including
counseling, work orientation, training, job development, job placement and
follow-up assistance after placement" (Toborg 1977:iii). Some of the
assistance provided includes medical attention, counseling, food, clothing,
transportation, and childcare. As has already been seen, the ex-offender
population has a wide variety of needs. But the intent of this paper is
weighted more toward issues of job development, rather than the multitude
of obstacles that must be overcome by these wrongdoers.
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It would be unfair for this author not to recognize the efforts of the State's
Job Service in the placement of ex-felons. The Denver metro area has a full
time placement specialist whose total work effort is directed toward that end.
She interviews and attempts to help approximately 200 a month from this
group. In addition to this specialist, the Job Service system attempts to help
any who seek assistance. But the nature of the majority of this assistance
does not address the special needs of the group this paper examines.
Nonetheless, this effort warrants description, for it verifies that activity in this
direction is taking place.
The Job Service policy, other than the above referred to specialist, is to
treat offenders in much the same manner, with some minor differences, as
any other citizen seeking work. Some of the processes that are available to
all releasees are: 1) definition of their goals, 2) area of job preference
(choice), 3) evaluation by an employment specialist, 4) how to use "Job
Service", 5) review of the job opening list, including necessary applicant skill
requirements, 6) how to apply for a job, 7) referrals, including how to get
there, 8) the best method and technique to expose their criminal history, 9) if
needed, a no cost GED can be earned at Red Rocks Community College,
10) reference to various vocational trades, 11) significant gaps in what the
80


applicant offers are examined, and they are referred to supportive services
to increase skill levels. As may be seen, some of these steps are unique to
releasees, but they generally follow those offered to all who are seeking
help.
This paper has already examined the Job Club associated with Denver's
Drug Court. As was seen, this effort is laudable, but serves only a limited
segment of the offender group, specifically those with drug problems.
Happily, there is another fine effort that shows what can be accomplished
given a competent, professional staff, and adequate resources. The DOC
Community Reintegration and Transition Service headquarters at the
Community College of Denver's Technical Education Center West Campus,
and is a program within the Colorado DOC education division.
Within the description of the program provided this author by a staff
member, we find that many of the needs described previously are fulfilled.
"Assistance takes many forms but is not limited to intensive counseling,
resume development, job referral, financial assistance with housing, work
clothing or tools" (personal correspondence). The program touched the lives
of over 2500 inmates in the fiscal year from 7/1/97 to 6/30/98, but much of
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this contact was minor in content. However, the triumph of the program is
found in the outcomes of the 346 inmates enrolled in the Job Training
Partnership Act. Of the 234 who completed the program, the recidivism rate
of this group proved to be an astonishingly low 2.31% (personal
correspondence). This investigator would expect an increase in the
recidivism rate of this group over time, but even with that expectation, this is
a hugely successful effort. One that might well serve as a matrix for an
expanded program. The reader will recall early in this paper we reviewed
the huge and growing cost of incarceration. Think of the savings potential to
the taxpayers of Colorado, not to mention the improved outcomes of the
offender population.
The job development specialist involved in this program was very open in
providing his input and expertise. The program is highly individualized, that
is, it takes into consideration the specific needs of the applicant. In short,
what does the client need from the program? The first step with a releasee
is a mini-assessment to determine a quick appraisal of the client's needs. If
a reading deficiency or some other educational need is discovered, the client
is referred to an educational specialist who guides them to vocational
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and educational resources. This timely action is deemed crucial, and the
offender can be sitting in an appropriate classroom within days.
A sense of urgency is attached to the needs of the client. In the words of
the job developer, "These people need work, and need it right now". The
client isn't "given a job", rather an appointment with an appropriate potential
employer is arranged. By appropriate is meant an attempted fitment of any
work experience or job training done under DOC auspices to the potential
employer's needs. It is up to the offender to be selected by the employer.
Some other meaningful comments provided include:
1. The program is believed to be more successful for being in an educational
setting rather than a corrections institution setting.
2. The staff will attempt direct intervention with Parole Officers and halfway
house Case Managers when it is deemed fitting to the situation and the
client's best interests.
3. Staff feel that the offender must have a support system of some kind to
turn to.
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4. Some temporary job companies are used with extremely good results
since some of the temp companies are currently being used in a human
resource mode by employers, and can generate permanent job
opportunities.
5. The program deals with a wide cross section of offenders, not just the
"cream of the crop".
Additionally, it is felt that employers are not afraid of the releasee's past
criminal behavior, their concerns are the same as for any other employee:
will they report to work as agreed, on time, and do the assigned work they
are being paid to do?
This job development specialist related that his formula for success is
primarily based on educating the employers that it can be beneficial to learn
how to deal with the offender "at risk population", just as with any other such
as the disabled or welfare recipients." A working relationship has been
developed with some 180 employers. These relationships have been
developed mainly through personal networking in the community.
Attendance at job fairs and various industry meetings are a necessary
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element of building this network. This employment base is occupation
specific and depends on a win-win relationship with the employers.
There is a vision on the horizon that this writer looks forward to, if the
Colorado legislature sees fit to grant funding. Relatively simple in design, it
will bring together many of the fragmented players involved in the enterprise
of reintegration of ex-offenders, with the major emphasis on employment
assistance and job development. This is a concept repeatedly met with
enthusiasm by the CJS professionals interviewed in this study who had no,
or at least minimal, contacts to aid their charges find adequate employment.
There is little doubt in this author's mind that it would be well used by Parole
and Probation Officers, as well as Case Managers in Community
Corrections. Further, such usage should have a positive effect upon the
outcomes of the criminal element rejoining society.
To give the reader some idea of the structure of this potential new
initiative, it would combine many of the various professionals already
engaged in employment issues. A central location would be developed that
would include counselors, job development specialists, phone banks
85


(potential employers always want a phone number), copy machines, fax
machines, resume preparation advice, and work shops dealing with the
multitude of offender needs. These would include at least how to conduct an
employment interview, fill out an application form, and how to follow up on it
once submitted. Also likely candidates for inclusion are minor elements of
financial aid such as bus tokens, hand tool purchasing, and the like. Such a
center would also lend itself to the communication of information to potential
employers. Brochures could be developed summarizing the process in
detail. This explanation could include description of the "job matching"
process, and that the nature of the applicant's criminal history may be
revealed to a potential employer. Little known programs providing for
bonding of ex-offenders, and the tax benefit of the Work Opportunity Tax
Credit, up to $2400 in the first year of hire of an ex-offender, could be
promoted within the business community. A speaker's bureau designed to
reach out to the business sector could be formed, as well as a public
relations effort if desired. Certainly, communication between all the various
players in this process would be enhanced. The possibilities, while not
endless, certainly are significant.
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This writer hopes to encourage the Colorado legislation to press forward
on further investigation of this proposed job development center. There is
no question about the efficacy of such a program. "Employers in this study
also indicated that the more information they received about the applicant,
such as the type of offense and its relationship to the job, the more likely
they are to consider hiring them" (Albright 1996:133). It would take time to
build up the coalition of sufficient employers willing to hire ex-offenders, but it
is a fact of life that people do business with people they know. As employers
gain confidence in the job developers, and get comfortable with the process,
good things will happen. One thing is certain about changing the rotten
outcomes reviewed in this paper, scale is important, and this requires
adequate public funding.
David C. Anderson, after discussing various alternative sanctions to
traditional justice system practices, comes to this conclusion. "Jurisdictions
won't realize the practical benefits of alternative programs with only a token
commitment to them" (Anderson 1998:159). "The (any) program can only
begin to generate real savings as it grows to accommodate several hundred
inmates per year, enough to warrant closing down whole wings of prisons or
averting construction of new ones" (Anderson 1998:160).
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This investigation of the exiting process of our state's criminal justice
system has led this writer to reach several conclusions. While many of the
findings project images of gloom and doom, the situation is far from
hopeless. It can be made much better, and happily, processes are known to
accomplish just that.
As we have seen, the forecast for the state's prison population projects
an increase of approximately 1400 inmates per year. Recidivism is playing a
major role in this expansion, and we can expect the DOC's budget
requirements to grow some thirty-five million dollars each year for the next
five years. If recidivism can be significantly reduced, the rewards would be
enormous.
I
i
The evidence indicates that meaningful employment will reduce
recidivism, but job development currently receives little attention. Part of this
problem is that employment is not seen as a public safety issue, when in fact
it clearly is. Awareness of this issue must be upgraded in the minds of all
who deal with this population.
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Programs of "supportive employment", as one job development specialist
termed the process, should be put into place that will serve a substantial
segment of the target offender group. The scale of this effort is crucial to
meaningful success in reducing the prison population. Major emphasis
should be placed on outreach to the private sector for job development.
Hiring additional job development specialists to focus on the necessary
networking and promotion involved seems to be fully justified.
Potential employers have major concerns about exposing their other
employees to harm in the work place. This investigator was unable to find
any study examining incidents of violence on the job by ex-offenders. Two
studies to examine this phenomenon seem warranted. The first might be an
assessment instrument to be completed by appropriate CJS professionals.
An alternative one informant suggests is face to face interviews, which might
prove more fruitful. The second study could be undertaken from DOC
records. A review of convictions involving violence could be compiled by
locale and previous record. Following this, an appropriate sample of records
of incoming felons could be maintained. Such studies, if found to be
negative, would have great utility in aiding job development. In the
meantime, employers voicing this concern should be advised to eliminate
89


from hiring those felons convicted of crimes involving violence, use of
weapons, or sex offenses.
Support in areas other than job development is also needed. Short term
help with the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter is warranted.
Current efforts in these areas are usually programs of either some religious
organization or a foundation. They do good work, but the efforts are
fragmented, little known, and serve only a few.
We have a proven matrix upon which to build. But as has been seen,
only a small percentage of this populace is being sufficiently served. The
creation of a new initiative incorporating all that is known and is needed
should, in this writer's view, be formed in Denver as promptly as possible. A
training program for employer front line supervisors should be incorporated.
Ultimately, once the program is fully developed and proven, ventures of the
same sort could be added to serve other parts of the state.
This is an ambitious agenda, but it seems to this writer that all of the
issues discussed fall in the domain of public policy. In order to attain the
90


scale needed to make a real impact on the problems, public funding is
necessary. This program has the potential to be cost effective, for it would
not take many successes to pay for the whole initiative. Not only that, but
the benefit in terms of cost avoidance could be huge. Issues of public safety
and the parsimonious use of the state's tax dollars are clearly appropriate for
the state's administration and legislature to address. These are matters that
lend themselves to social planning. With the current demand for workers in
the Denver area, the time to strike is now. This author sincerely hopes that
this paper encourages the reader to support such an initiative, for the impact
upon our society could be tremendous.
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APPENDIX A
A NOTE ON METHODS
These remarks might be properly entitled "Confessions of a Rehabilitated
Quantitative Aficionado", for at the beginning of this investigation this author
was still influenced strongly by documentation of percentages of this, and
graphs of that. So commonplace in our life experience are facts on social
issues thus presented that many are conditioned to look for such
documentation in studies concerning them. This may be particularly true of
legislative bodies that fund social programs. Legislatures, so it is said, want
to see the "numbers". Accordingly, this writer felt it necessary to present
quantitative data in the documentation of the relationship between recidivism
and employment.
However, many matters of crucial importance to our society do not lend
themselves to "numbers". Precise measurement of hundreds of factors
affecting human well being simply cannot be made. We can measure a
day's temperature, and note the direction and strength of winds, with relative
92


precision, the first in degrees of temperature and the second in terms of
velocity. But these precise measurements fail to tell the complete story. The
sky may be sunny, partly cloudy, or overcast, terms of much less
preciseness. Also, the experience of a "nice day" is dependent on much,
much more in the human experience. The loss of a loved one on the fairest
of days proves to be devastating. On the other hand, the dreariest of winter
days can be transformed into wonderland by winning the State's lottery. So
qualitative measurements do count, and they count a great deal.
There are many ways to view the world, and this view is dictated largely
by the subjective concept of the beholders. Readers should always take this
into consideration when examining the writings of others, including this one.
Still, if enough people familiar with a social scene report a similar opinion,
then those of us not as close to the situation must lend credence to the
redundancy of their collective view.
The author's quest in the beginning was simply to seek a manner in which
to bring anthropological thinking to bear on some then undetermined aspect
of criminal activity. What emerged was this investigation of the relationship
between recidivism and meaningful employment. Or, perhaps more
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Full Text

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AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ON RECIDIVISM AND EMPLOYMENT IN COLORADO by James Waugh B.B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 1962 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Anthropology 1999

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by James Waugh has been approved by 573/?t Date

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Waugh, James Alexander (M.A., Anthropology) An Anthropological Perspective on Recidivism and Employment in Colorado Thesis directed by Associate Professor Kitty Corbett ABSTRACT This paper examines the relationship between meaningful employment and recidivism in Colorado. It focuses primarily on the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC), although the investigation included interviews with members of Community Corrections and officers of the Denver District Court. This investigation might be described as "knocking on doors". It reports findings based largely on comments obtained from professionals in the Colorado Criminal Justice System. Among the informants were; a DOC educational specialist, DOC officials, various Parole Officers, Case Managers in Community Corrections and Denver Drug Court, job development specialists, members of Colorado's Job Service, intensive Supervision Probation Officers, halfway house Directors, and the Denver Director of Community Corrections. A literature search was also conducted. Recidivism is a major factor in the ever growing prison population, and thereby helps drive the increasing expense of confining felons. The DOC budget has grown from about $200 million in 1993 to some $400 million in 1999, with new prison construction currently forecast at $480 million. What emerged is confirmation of the important role employment can play in reducing recidivism. This relationship is explored to examine if it contains elements causal in nature, or if it reflects some undetected third variable such as a decision to "go straight". Ill

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Also examined were hindrances to finding ex-offenders meaningful employment with a decent wage level. This population suffers greatly from low levels of both cultural and social capital. In addition, potential employers are reluctant to hire from this group, primarily from a fear of potential theft and violence in the work place. Efforts at job development are meeting with relatively good success However, too few of this offender group are being served. The main conclusions arrived at are: 1. Improved employment opportunities for the ex-offender group will result in reduced recidivism. Further, due to the high cost of confining prisoners for a year, it would not take too many successful placements to recover the costs of a major effort 2. The know-how to put a complete program together is available Unfortunately, there is not enough activity to reach the scale that is needed to serve the over 4000 felons that are released back into Colorado's society annually. 3. It appears to this investigator that the main problem inherent in this situation is that employment is not generally considered a matter of public safety, yet it clearly is. Support must come from the State's legislature for this social dilemma to be properly addressed. This abstract accurately reflects the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed IV

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CONTENTS Tables................................................................................ vi Figures............................................................................... vii CHAPTER 1. THE CURRENT OUTLOOK OF RECIDIVISM IN COLORADO TODAY............................................. 1 2. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECIDIVISM AND EMPLOYMENT EXAMINED.................................. 17 3. JOB DEVELOPMENT AND PLACEMENT IN COLORADO'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM................. 31 4. HINDRANCES TO EMPLOYMENT................................ 66 5. JOB DEVELOPMENT ISSUES 79 AND RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................... APPENDIX A A NOTE ON METHODS.............................................. 92 BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................................... 98 v

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TABLES Table 1.1 Cumulative Return Rates for Calendar Year Releases 1991 through 1996....................................... .. . . . . . 10 1.2 Annual Cost per Inmate.. .... .... .............................. 11 1.3 Total Releases by Year. . ... .... .... . . ...................... 11 1.4 Cost Estimate of Recidivism of the Releasees of 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 1.5 Cumulative Return Rates for Calendar Year Releases 1990 through 1992... ... . ... ... ... ... ... ... . .... ... ........ ... ... 15 2.1 Criminal History, Job Problems and Client Outcome................ .... .. ........................ . 20 vi

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FIGURES Figure 1.1 Non-cumulative Recidivism Rate 1990 through 1992... ....... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. .... 15 VII

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CHAPTER 1 THE CURRENT OUTLOOK OF RECIDIVISM IN COLORADO "The job and the man are even. The job fails the man, and the man fails the job." (Liebow 1967:62) There are few things in the world that an anthropologist enjoys more than a "rite of passage". First identified and named by Arnold van Gennep, rites of passage are found throughout the human condition. They mark a transition in one's social status, and usually involve the separation of the individual from their normal place in the social structure. During this period of separation, other members of the group bestow ritual information upon the initiate. At the conclusion of this period of withdrawal and instruction, the subject returns to society, but in a new role. For clarification, we might examine two examples of this process. One common to our country is the "rite of passage" experienced by young men who are caiJed up in the service of our country. Removed from their normal

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social construct as civilians, they follow a rigorous training program lasting several months. By the end of this period, they have become effective members of their military organization, and may be assigned into a wide range of duties that they are now capable of performing. A second model is often found in simpler societies that follow the custom that when a young woman reaches maturity, she is temporarily removed from her family The older women then instruct her in the social expectations of womanhood within their culture. When finished, the young woman is now deemed both ready and suitable to assume the obligations of marriage and child bearing. While the outcome of a "rite of passage" is usually positive, such is not always the consequence. .... the passage is consummated and the ritual subject, the neophyte or initiate reenters the social structure, often but not always at a higher status level. Ritual degradation occurs as well as elevation. Courts martial and excommunication ceremonies create and represent descents, not elevations" (Turner 1974: 232). To this writer, the journey through Colorado's Criminal Justice System (CJS) is just such a case of "ritual degradation" to which Turner refers. It is further this writer's contention that a re-examination of the closure of this "passage" is in order. Not because it is unfair or malevolent, but that to borrow Professor Mary Jo 2

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Bane's term, it leads so often to "rotten outcomes" (Schorr 1989::xvii). Recidivism, the process whereby offenders who have "paid their debt to society" for previous crimes, return again to the criminal justice system, occurs all too often There appears to be a general agreement that meaningful employment among the ex-offender population is a key issue in avoiding recidivism. This paper probes this relationship from the perspective of an anthropologist, rather than the traditional viewpoint of criminal justice professionals. The investigation examines the present status of recidivism in Colorado, and the resulting expense to the taxpayers How and why employment and recidivism are linked is then reviewed. Current efforts to enhance employment, as reported by interviews with a cross-section of the CJS professionals, are also included. Finally, some of the findings discovered and conclusions reached are described. The intent of the writer is to bring the perspective of anthropology to bear upon the criminal behavior of an ever increasing sub-group of our populace. It is hoped that this investigation will provide insight into initiatives that may dampen the behavior that leads to the re-interment of such a large percentage of these 3

PAGE 11

offenders. As will be shown, the problem is currently at epidemic proportions. To this writer, a major cause of recidivism lies in the meager "cultural and social capital" possessed by so many members of this population. For a variety of reasons, well studied, but outside the scope of this investigation, much of the offender group has never acquired the skills and contacts so necessary for successful participation in our society. Cultural capital, a term coined by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, plays a substantial role in anthropological theory. Like many concepts, it is a slippery term and difficult to define precisely. However, since it appears to this author to be such a key element in this study, we will take a brief look at how others describe the term. "Bourdieu's most important contribution to reproduction theory is the concept of cultural capital, which he defines as the general cultural background, knowledge, disposition, and skills that are passed from one generation to the next" (Macleod 1995:13). The theory postulates that various classes of our population pass on to their offspring their core values and skills. The process is as varied as is our citizenry. But, if the process is 4

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interrupted, or if the cultural capital level passed on works poorly within the society, the child is placed at a disadvantage that may well last a lifetime. Yet another author describes the elements of cultural capital as including .... knowledge, skills and differing types of educational qualifications" (Thompson 1990:148). It is the elements of cultural capital that are so readily convertible to economic wealth in our society. Certainly a strong work ethic, a trait lacking in much of the ex-offender group, would be deemed a desirable piece of cultural capital. Social capital, which is also found lacking in a large segment of offenders, is somewhat easier to define. Its main element is often described as "knowing the right people". Contacts that so often "open doors" to beneficial situations, usually come from some member of an individual's support group. Frequently, this benefactor is a member of one's kinship group, a friend, or a mentor. Anthropologists consider this support group to be a major part of social capital. Lack of this supportive network is a major factor in the failure of many felons to reintegrate into society successfully. Informants time after time reported that ex-offenders are often friendless, except within their own dysfunctional sub-group, and it is common for their 5

PAGE 13

family to want "no part" of them. We shall revisit these themes later in the study. The prison population of Colorado's Department of Corrections (DOC) continues to grow. This alone is a matter of grave concern even though this trend is at least partially driven by the expanding population of the state. One aspect of this unfortunate trend is that our prisons are increasingly being swelled by offenders who are returning to the system for a second and third time. "In Colorado, the Department of Corrections estimates that criminal justice system program failures (from probation, community corrections and parole) account for nearly 40% of prison admissions" (English and Mande 1991 :9). This issue is not unique to Colorado; it is a reflection of a nationwide trend. Although recidivism rates show some variance between states, three year tracking statistics from other states seem to equal or exceed those of Colorado. In a report prepared by The Rand Corporation for the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, inmates released in three states during the late 1970's and early 1980's were tracked. "More than 50 percent of the inmates that were followed for at least 36 months were 6

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arrested after their release from prison" (Klein & Caggiano 1986:viii). The three states involved were California, Michigan, and Texas. The findings indicated significant differences in recidivism rates with Michigan and Texas lower than California. "About 53 percent of the Michigan inmates and 60 percent of the Texas inmates were arrested at least once within 36 months of their release from prison, compared with 76 percent in California" (Klein & Caggiano 1986:viii). A 1989 briefing sheet from The Sentencing Project in Washington D.C. reported on a government study that tracked 108,000 offenders released from prisons in eleven states in 1983, one of the largest studies ever done on recidivism. "Within three years of release, 62% of state prisoners in the eleven states surveyed had been rearrested for a new felony or serious misdemeanor, 47% had been reconvicted (although the actual figure is probably higher), and 41% had received a new term of incarceration" (Briefing Sheet 1989:1). Further, the Federal Bureau of Prisons followed a representative sample drawn from 1205 federal prison inmates released during the first 6 months of 1987. Within three years," .... 40.8 percent of the former inmates had 7

PAGE 15

either been rearrested or had their parole revoked, that is, recidivated" (Harer 1994:1). A 1996 study followed inmates released from various Texas correctional facilities. "In Texas, 48% of the offenders who were released from prison in 1991 were re-incarcerated within three years" (Fabela 1996:i). In another massive investigation, New York State discovered similar outcomes. "Out of 14,130 inmates released in 1988, 7,410 (52.4%) returned to custody within five years, 25.1% as new commitments and 27.4% for violation of parole" (Dept. of Correctional Services 1995: ii). Let us now return to the concern of this part of our investigation which is to examine the state of recidivism in Colorado, and to gain some appreciation of just how severe this dilemma is, in terms of the monetary cost to Colorado's taxpayers. To accomplish this, several aspects of the problem must be examined. First, the growth of the prison population in the state, which, of course, drives the release rate. Second, the recidivism rate experienced by the Colorado DOC, and third, the cost of retaining an inmate in a correctional facility upon their return. Finally, the growing number of 8

PAGE 16

inmates being released annually. We may then combine these factors to help us grasp the magnitude of this mounting problem. In the fiscal years between 1981 and 1997, the state's adult inmate population increased from 2,272 to 12,205 (CO. DOC 1997:4), an increase of over 500%. Equally disconcerting is the prospect that by the year 2004, this population is forecast to swell to between nineteen and twenty thousand (CO. DOC 1997:10). It is important for the reader to keep in mind that almost all of these inmates will ultimately be released back into society at some point. They will come out, for warehousing them forever is not only financially impractical, it is unconstitutional. At a recent symposium on employment for felons exiting the CJS, Ari Zavaras, then Executive Director of the Colorado DOC, in his opening remarks stated that "95% of those entering the DOC will come out." Now let us take a look at Colorado's DOC recidivism rate. Table 1.1 indicates the most current recidivism rates as they transpire over a five year period. An examination of the table indicates that by the end of the fifth year after release, well over forty percent of those released are back in a 9

PAGE 17

correctional facility. Also to be noted is the fact that this deplorable trend is quickening. The rate of return is accelerating. RELEASE YEAR 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 TABLE 1.1 Cumulative Return Rates For Calendar Year Releases 1991 Through 1996 1 YEAR 2YEARS 3 YEARS 4 YEARS 26.00% 33.20% 37.30% 40.80% 27.40% 34.30% 38.80% 42.10% 28 80% 36.30% 40.50% 43.60% 29.80% 36.90% 41.20% 29 70% 37.50% 34.00% Source: DOC 1997 Fiscal Report: 57 5YEARS 43.20% 44.30% As if the proliferating inmate population and growing recidivism rate were not enough, the cost of maintaining a prisoner in the state's prison system is increasing annually, as exhibited in Table 1.2. 10

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TABLE 1.2 Annual Cost Per Inmate YEAR COST PER INMATE 1991 $18,383 1992 $19,229 1993 $19,300 1994 $20,796 1995 $21,403 1996 $23,246 Source: CO. DOC Fiscal Reports for Years 1992 through 1997 At this time, perhaps the scale of this problem in Colorado can be better appreciated if we examine the growing number of offenders that are released back into society. Table 1.3 indicates this information for the period under examination. TABLE 1.3 Total Releases by Year YEAR RELEASES 1991 3115 1992 3309 1993 3563 1994 3593 1995 4001 1996 4445 Source: CO. DOC Fiscal Reports for Years 1992 through 1997 II

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It is beyond the scope of this investigation to arrive at an estimate of the true cost of recidivism for the citizens of Colorado. Such a study would have to place a realistic dollar figure on the cost of new crimes, the amount spent in apprehending the felons, as well as the costs involved in prosecuting the offenders through the courts. Nor is the cost of building prisons, now approaching $50,000 per cell, taken into consideration. However, we do have enough data to arrive at some assessment of what the Colorado DOC spends in a year to deal with this problem. We can estimate the "tip of the iceberg". The average sentence that an offender receives through the process of recidivism is unclear. However, data are available for technical returns. A felon re-incarcerated on a "technical return is essentially guilty of violating the terms of parole, rather than committing a new crime. Infractions may be as serious as the possession of a weapon, or as minor as a traffic violation or a change of address without permission. In 1997 technical returns, were re-incarcerated for an average of 9.7 months, while the average time served for all 1997 releases was 22.2 months (CO. DOC 1997:53). For the purpose of establishing some concept of the cost of recidivism in Colorado, this writer suggests that the figure of eighty percent of the annual cost be 12

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used. This figure is an approximation of the percentage that 9.7 months is of a year. Using the data already presented, we can create Table 1.4. This table develops a cost estimate for the "class" of 1991, when 3,115 felons were released. The percent(%) RETURNED column reflects the recidivism rate as shown in Table 1.1 which is applied against Table 1.3 to establish the number (#) RETURNED column reflecting the actual number of offenders returning to DOC in the year indicated. As indicated above, the 80% COST column reflects that percentage of the annual cost of incarceration from Table 1.2. The TOTAL$ column simply reflects the extension of the data in the previous two columns. TABLE 1.4 Cost Estimate of Recidivism of the Releasees Of 1991 YEAR %RETURNED #RETURNED 80% COST TOTAL$ 1991 26.00% 810 $14,706 $11,911,860 1992 7.20% 224 $15,383 $3,455,792 1993 4.10% 128 $15,440 $1,976,320 1994 3.50% 109 $16,636 $1,813,324 1995 2.40% 75 $17,122 $1,284,150 TOTAL $20 431 446 Source: CO. DOC Fiscal Reports for Years 1992 through 1996 13

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As may be seen from Table 1.4, recidivism is a costly process, one that this writer, along with others, feels can be ameliorated. This is the major reason for this investigation Additionally, when these data are examined in a non-cumulative manner, as in the bottom row of Table 1.5, and in graph form in Figure 1 .1, the importance of the first year of reintegration back into society becomes evident. Almost 60% of recidivism occurs in the first year. This suggests that any intervention has a greater potential if implemented at, or shortly after the time of release. This writer agrees with one experienced criminal justice professional interviewed, who indicated that such a process should begin in the correctional facility some time before discharge. 14

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TABLE 1.5 Cumulative Return Rates for Calendar Year Releases 1990 through 1992 RELEASE YEAR 1st YEAR 2"d YEAR 3rdYEAR 4th YEAR 1991 25.00% 32. 70% 37.10% 40 50% 1992 26.00% 33 20% 37.30% 40.80% 1993 27.40% 34.30% 38.80% 42.10% 3 YEARAVG 26.13% 33.40% 37.73% 41.13% %BY YEAR 26.13% 7.27% 4.33% 3.40% 5th YEAR 43 20% 43.20% 44 30% 43.57% 2.44% Source : DOC Annual Fiscal Reports for 1995 and 1997 (3 Year avg % by Year, and Figure 1 below added by author) 30.00% 25.00% 20.00% 15.00% 10.00% 0.00% FIGURE 1.1 Non-cumulative Recidivism Rate -------... -. 1990/92 YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5 15

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We can say one other thing with certainty about those released from the system, they will find a way to survive. The manner in which they achieve their survival will have a dramatic impact on our society, and should be of concern to all. Must we accept the dysfunctional behavior that leads to recidivism as an unalterable aspect of our modern society? Shall we take no action and content ourselves with recycling them through our expensive criminal justice system, or can we find new and meaningful solutions? 16

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CHAPTER TWO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECIDIVISM AND EMPLOYMENT EXAMINED "Work creates a place in the world for workers and a set of relationships with their families, friends and the larger community" (Pappas 1989: 79) Early on in this investigation, an informant well acquainted with the process of felons exiting the state's criminal justice system, outlined a scenario that described some of the negative aspects of the procedure currently in place Discharged from a Canon City correctional facility with only a bus ticket and a check for one hundred dollars (known as the "kick out 1 00"), the offender often arrives in the Denver area in the late afternoon or early evening devoid of any support group lacking even a place to sleep. They are often specifically prohibited from associating with other felons (whom can often be met on the bus) or visiting bars. With no friend or kinship member to meet them, too often they seek out one of the few places that will cash their check, a downtown bar There they form new friendships 17

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of questionable merit, and find the alcohol and feminine companionship they have so long been denied. The outcome is all too predictable. This writer is not an advocate for criminal behavior, but if the reader will just try to visualize themselves in the recently discharged offender's "shoes", they will not find a happy state. If they have been interred for an extended period, say 8 or 10 years, no former friend or member of their kinship group is likely to take any interest in them. With no meaningful support group, few resources, little cultural or social capital, poorly educated, and limited work skills and work history, the ex-offender faces a bleak future to say the least. Their position is almost desperate in relation to the obstacles to be encountered. All of these issues are difficult burdens, but the principle focus of this paper is their need for meaningful employment. They need a job, and they need it quickly. "Studies conducted over a period of more than forty years have found that unemployment and recidivism are closely related for prison releasees and other ex-offenders" (Toborg 1977:V). The relationship between unemployment and recidivism appears robust and well known. However, there is no clear cut consensus as to the causes behind this relationship. Is 18

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it causal in nature, or does it reflect some third variable such as a resolve to "go straight"? Whatever the cause, the relationship is well defined and accepted as fact. Community Corrections is another branch of Colorado's Department of Public Safety. Various districts of the State's Court system have established Boards of Community Correction as mandated by law. Community Corrections is the repository of halfway houses. In Colorado these institutions are operated for profit by independent contractors under the supervision of the applicable local Community Corrections Board. Residents of these halfway houses, often referred to as "clients", come preponderantly from two distinct sources. I The first group are identified as diversion clients. These are convicted 1 felons perceived by the courts to be of low risk to public safety who are therefore sentenced directly to a halfway house. The other major groups are referred to as transitional clients. These are offenders exiting the Colorado DOC correctional facilities who are deemed to benefit from a transitional period to acclimate themselves to the changes in lifestyle between the discipline of prison and the freedom of society. These 19

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transitional clients are essentially relearning to function in society while awaiting parole. While there are undoubtedly other significant indicators of failure, English and Mande, in a 1991 study of Community Corrections for the Colorado Department of Public Safety, found the relationship between employment and failure to successfully reintegrate into society not only robust, but the leading factor in program failure. "Employment was found to be related to program failure. Clients with recorded employment problems were three times as likely to fail than those who had no job problems" (English and Mande 1991 :2). Data from table 3.4 of that English and Mande study is reproduced here as Table 2.1. TABLE 2.1 Criminal History, Job Problems and Client Outcome CRIMINAL NO JOB PROBLEM HAD JOB PROBLEMS SCORE SUCCEED FAIL SUCCEED FAIL NUMBER 0 71. 10% 28.30% 25.00% 75.00% 295 1 59.60% 23.50% 23.50% 76.50% 234 2 58. 90% 18.00% 18.00% 82.00% 225 3 54.90% 14.60% 14.60% 85.40% 150 4 42 60% 33.70% 33.70% 66.30% 391 Source: English and Mande 1991 :26 20

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An examination of Table 2.1 indicates very clearly that offenders who experience no job problems have a dramatically better chance for success than those who do. As a note of explanation, the Criminal Score shown in the first column is a rating system used by the state to evaluate the felon's perceived threat to society. It is prepared on an evaluation form designed for that purpose by the prosecutor upon the conviction of a defendant. The presiding judge takes the offender's rating into consideration in determining the sentence to be given The higher this number, the greater the threat of violence, and therefore the more restrictive security measures warranted. As the table indicates, at the criminal score levels from zero to three, there is a major difference in the outcomes when job problems are present compared to when they are absent. At level four, the importance of job success is less relevant, but the trend is similar. The researchers who conducted this study felt little doubt of the importance of successful employment. "In subsequent analysis, using information from the best discriminate model, we found employment to enter first for over 80% of the programs studied. That is, employment status appeared to be the strongest predictor of failure for over 80% of the programs" (English and Mande 1991 :26). While this study does not prove the value of meaningful employment, it certainly strongly suggests that decent jobs reduce the rate of recidivism. 21

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This writer proposed to one knowledgeable informant, who has years of experience in placing felons in jobs, that the early indications of this writer's study suggested that success on the job was the number one indicator for achieving successful reintegration into society. He agreed, but cautioned that this relationship was relatively easy to identify. Underlying this association is that failure on the job is largely due, in his opinion, to a lack of job keeping skills. Common failures he has observed over the years are related to: 1) disagreement with supervisor; 2) claims of being mistreated; and 3) dislike of fellow workers. In addition, he advised that it is difficult for the releasees to get "work hardened". By that, he means the process of meeting the requirements of the job in both mental and physical areas. Additional job readiness skills that need to be developed if missing include: 1) regular attendance; 2) showing up on time; 3) the mobility to accomplish these; and 4) appropriate attire. While this same source agrees that releasees often are able to obtain only marginal (low paying) jobs, the income usually meets the releasees' immediate needs. To stabilize the offender in the community however, he believes that the wage scale is an important element. Still, too often ex offenders will not keep appointments for positions that offer relatively high 22

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wages, or fail to pursue career paths, as perhaps an apprentice, to better earnings. One experienced state Parole Supervisor with years of experience views earning a good income as a third positive indicator of success. The other two mentioned were strong family support, which is often lacking, and that the offender has passed the age of forty Older felons seem to avoid recidivism, either because they have had enough of prison, and give up the criminal lifestyle, or they get so good at it that they avoid apprehension. There is yet another view of why age seems to mediate recidivism. "Many chronic street criminals who are middle-aged and older have become so addicted to alcohol and drugs that going to prison is a deterrent, because imprisonment threatens easy access to drugs and alcohol." (Fleisher 1995:242). When investigating the relationship between employment and recidivism, one must look at the connection of each with the offender. Does success on the job really provide a good indication of avoidance of recidivism? Improved work ethic, no matter how derived, surely reflects an attitude adjustment by the offender, for whatever reason. Maybe that is the answer. 23

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Perhaps staying on the job, and keeping out of trouble, are both reflections of attitude. In other words, the relationship between employment and recidivism may be determined by this complex question of attitude or work ethic. If this is true, are there any other related factors that might be found? "The observed relationship between criminality and unemployment has been explained in different ways. Some researchers have proposed that there is a causal relationship between unemployment and crime, while other analysts have argued that unemployment and recidivism are highly correlated only because each is associated with another factor (e.g., the influence of family members or a decision to 'go straight') which induced widespread behavioral change. Whatever the explanation, unemployment and recidivism are often closely related" (Toborg 1 977:V). To fully grasp its importance, we must define work for the purpose of this paper, and then attempt to determine its role in recidivism avoidance. Humankind, alone among all the animals of our world manifests tremendous power over the environment No other species even begins to approach ours in these endeavors. We accomplish these changes through the efforts of our labor. This labor, or work as we commonly say, is one of our most significant activities, and is a major element in defining our humanity. People everywhere work, although it may take significantly different forms between the smaller scale cultures and industrialized society. Work, it should be remembered, is not synonymous with paid employment 24

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However, for the purposes of this paper, payment for work is considered a key element. All members of a modern industrialized state need a source of the monetary medium of exchange, whether it be dollars, francs, euros, or yen. In Colorado this translates to U.S. dollars. We all need cash. Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Elliott Liebow, an anthropologist, said, "Work is not only the fundamental condition of human existence, but it is through work ... that the individual is able to define himself as a full and valued member of society. It is almost impossible to think of what it means to be human without thinking of work" (Peterson 1995:66). To better appreciate the importance of paid employment in the lives of felons returning to society, the reader might pause for a few moments and consider the role of work in their own lives. All of the necessities of life, and the luxuries as well, for one's self and one's loved ones, are usually achieved through work. So it seems to be appropriate to assume that all of the importance of income from work to the noncriminal population, is equally relevant to those who have violated our laws. This is not intended to minimize or in any way diminish the importance of the non-paid work of the millions who serve as volunteers or work at home to enrich family life. 25

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Rather, it is intended to highlight the importance of wage earnings in our current industrialized society. This investigator learned of several aspects of meaningful work that may well differ in their impact upon ex-offenders, and contribute to the role of paid employment in the avoidance of recidivism. One veteran Intensive Supervision Parole (ISP) officer offered the opinion that money in the pocket acts as a deterrent to "impulse" crimes. Thus, an ex-offender sitting in a bar who is approached to participate in an illicit activity, such as driving a truckload of stolen 1V's across town for 50 or 75 dollars, will be more likely to decline if he has money in his pocket. According to this expert informant, "money in hand dampens criminal activity". Then too, money issues are a frequent source of argument in any domestic relationship. According to this same ISP officer, an unemployed husband, spending his days loafing at home, is more likely to get into an argument with his wife over money. This argument can lead to domestic violence with all its miserable ramifications. This writer pursued this theme at one of Denver's domestic violence centers, but could find no supporting evidence either in the library or in interviews with staff members. This 26

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literature review indicated that domestic violence covers the whole wide range of economic conditions and is found among the wealthy as well as the poor. Most of the American male population is employed. The employment rate seems to fluctuate in recent times between the lower 90th percentile and the mid-90's. Thus this writer perceives it as reasonable that in excess of 90% of domestic violence will be perpetrated by employed individuals. However, one informal sanction was suggested that appears to be significant. Employers, if they become aware of these incidents through absenteeism caused by being in jail, or through the "grape vine", are not likely to be favorably impressed, particularly as the public's awareness and sensitivity grows. An employer's condemnation, or even threat of discharge, apparently is perceived as an additional sanction against domestic violence. This fact is born out by an investigation of the variance of the incidence of domestic violence between those who worked and those who did not. "The results of this study provide general support for the hypothesis that the deterrent effect of the formal sanction of arrest for spouse abuse is mediated by the informal sanctions implicit in employment status. Among employed suspects, arrest had a statistical significant deterrent effect on the occurrence of a subsequent assault as recorded on the Domestic Violence Continuation Report forms. Among unemployed suspects on the other hand, significant increases in 27

PAGE 35

subsequent assaults were associated with arrest" (Pate and Edwin 1992: 695). So the possibility of losing one's job, an informal sanction in the hands of the employer, appears to reduce the proclivity toward domestic violence. This additional restraint is lacking among the unemployed. So it does seem that money in the home tends to lessen stresses that lead to domestic violence. In this same vein, the officer commented that a job keeps the partners apart for much of the waking hours which can enhance their relationship, perhaps by diffusing tensions. To this we should add, most acts of domestic violence are misdemeanors, and will likely lead to technical recidivism for someone on parole. In one early interview, a seasoned parole supervisor suggested that he had severe reservations about a releasee returning to their old neighborhood unless they were going to live with caring parents or a respected spouse. Parole officers have no lawful way to prohibit this, but he regards it as a warning sign that points toward failure. This echoes the early work of Robert Ezra Parks at the University of Chicago in his study of the 28

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urban scene. Parks argued that the anonymity provided by increased population density led to the formation of specialized sub groups. These mini populations came together and formed societies whose cultural values reflected their own views, rather than the accepted norm of the greater population. "The city makes it possible for different people to keep different company; and a company of like characteristics can provide the moral underpinnings for behavior which others might frown upon" (Hannerz 1980:25). So, to be an accepted member of the sub group, one only has to meet the expectations of that group, which often is significantly less demanding than the total population. Park identified groups as avant-garde artistic colonies and ethnic gangs as examples. It makes sense that it is this same theory that is at play when a felon returns to his old friends, where he may even be regarded as some form of "pop" hero for having been in prison. In such a group, to which he belonged before he was apprehended for a crime, he faces few or no sanctions against reverting back to the criminal lifestyle. On the other hand, meaningful employment places the parolee in the presence of "normal people" with "normal values" for forty hours or more per week. While in the 29

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presence of other employees, the parolee has a greater tendency to live up to the standards of the others which hopefully alleviates criminal tendencies. One pragmatic ISP supervisor mentioned an obvious relationship of work to recidivism avoidance that this investigator had not considered, although it should be obvious. When the ex-offender is working full time, it means that for forty hours a week he or she cannot revert to the behavior that caused them to get in trouble in the first place. In addition, they may find themselves too tired to be inclined to get into much trouble. And so it seems to this investigator that meaningful employment brings to bear upon the ex-offender significant pressures and benefits not present in the lives of those transgressors that are not so engaged. This finding suggests that, to at least some degree, the relationship between employment and recidivism is in part causal. 30

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CHAPTER THREE JOB DEVELOPMENT AND PLACEMENT IN COLORADO'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. "Staff in nearly every program indicated a need for expanded offender employment opportunities" (English and Mande 1991: 44 ). This chapter is devoted to giving the reader a greater understanding of the Colorado criminal justice system, and the attitudes and processes this investigator found there related to the importance of employment to exoffenders. The State's criminal courts have a variety of sentencing options for convicted criminals. A detailed description of this complex system is beyond the purpose of this paper, but some knowledge of the process is necessary to gain insight into what is happening, and what changes might be considered regarding job development for ex-offenders. This investigation used the well-known "snowball" method. Starting with one cooperative and well-respected member of the system, this writer was referred to various actors in each of the venues discussed. Several of these 31

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referrals are supervisors in the departments where the interviews took place, and their position and personal prestige opened many doors. In every resulting interview, the informants were amazingly accommodating in sharing their knowledge and expertise. The options available to a sentencing judge are relatively wide. While sentencing guidelines are mandated by the state's legislature, the judge still retains considerable leeway. The reader will recall from the previous chapter that upon conviction, a criminal justice score _is prepared by the prosecutor for the judge. This document's main purpose is to acquaint the judge with the offender's perceived threat to society. In terms of consequence to the offender, the lightest sentence available to the judge would be probation under the supervision of the court's probation officer. The level of supervision varies depending upon the judge's determination, and can vary from one or two contacts per month, to three or four a week. For offenders perceived as a greater risk to society, the judge can sentence the lawbreaker to Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP). It is in this area that are found the electronic monitoring devices and house arrest. ISP officers maintain extremely close contacts with those 32

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wrongdoers assigned to them. This is the closest punishment alternative to internment. Revocation of ISP is not at the discretion of the probation officer. Only the sentencing court can revoke probation, and remand the transgressor to imprisonment. An ISP informant advised this investigator that the courts do not take kindly to ISP approaching them for revocation of parole on minor matters. Only violations of a severe nature will normally entice the courts to imprison the miscreant. One factor playing a significant role in this process is that the state courts cannot be sued. Should the judge decide to, he or she can mandate confinement in either Community Corrections or the Department of Corrections. This may be done at either at the original sentencing decision, or at the revocation of probation. Community Corrections, as has already been indicated, is set up in the various state court districts, and is under the supervision of a Community Corrections Board consisting of leading citizens and law officers of that district. Sentencing into Community Corrections usually, but not always, consists of confinement to a halfway house under the supervision of a Case Manager, who is an employee of the facility. If confined under these circumstances, the culprit is known as a diversion client. 33

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The most severe punishment, with the exception of the rare death sentence, is confinement in one of the state's Department of Corrections prisons. Both the length of the sentence and the security level of the correctional institution are issues that are considered in assignment to these facilities. "The department has twenty-four prisons owned and operated by the Department of Corrections throughout the state of Colorado. This includes four prisons which are currently under construction or being planned" (CO. DOC 1997: 12). The total average daily population (A.D.P.) under the control of the DOC during fiscal 1997 was 15,822. "The average inmate population for fiscal year 1997 was 12,205 while the total parole population averaged 3,370. The Youthful Offender System contributed an additional247 A.D.P. to the total" (CO. DOC 1997: 2). Those inmates leaving the DOC correctional facilities via parole granted by the State's Parole Board, are placed under the jurisdiction of the DOC's Division of Adult Parole Supervision. There they are assigned to a Parole Officer who's duty it is to see that the offender meets all the terms of their parole, which can vary between cases. An experienced Parole Officer in the Denver metropolitan area can have a case load of up to 60 parolees. 34

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Officers dealing with intensive supervised parolees will have a case load of perhaps 20 to 24. This investigation was limited to the Denver metropolitan area. Opinions expressed during several interviews indicated that about 70% of the state's parole population in to be found in this area. However, this investigator was unable to find any statistical evidence to support these opinions. One Parole Manager did indicate that the metropolitan area that he was responsible for, the Denver and Englewood offices, had approximately 1100 active cases at the time of our meeting. The other parole divisions are: 1) Northeast including the northern part of the Denver metro area, Greely, Ft. Collins, and on up to Sterling; 2) Southeast, including Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Cannon City, and Trinidad; 3) Western, including Grand Junction and Durango. One Parole Manager from the Denver area indicated that he had seen a lot of interest in employment and job development back in the 1970's, but this interest had diminished since then. His officers do have some contacts, as did he when in that position, but they seem to be minimal, and could always use more support. The parolees usually do not have the necessary 35

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skills to find higher level employment. As a result, most find work in unskilled occupations paying less than $8 per hour. He has seen exceptions of course, citing one of his cases of some time ago who now manages two McDonald restaurants. However, this individual had a college degree and had been an army officer during the Vietnam War. Mobility is a problem for those on parole. In fact, one previous day reporting center was a failure because the only public transportation was a bus line that served it poorly. Accordingly, location on public transportation routes would be a significant plus to any employment opportunity. It should be noted that the Denver Parole Manager's office can be readily visited from anywhere in the district it serves. It is located in downtown Denver on the 16th St. Mall where it is served by the shuttle, which connects with light rail, which in turn connects with most bus lines. Of considerable impact on mobility for parolees is the fact that they are eligible to obtain a driver's license, including a Commercial Drivers license, on the day they are paroled. Clients, either transitional or diversion, still required to live in a halfway house are not granted this privilege. 36

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Parolees often are in a "survival mode". Poor in assets and lacking kinship support, (i.e., lacking social capital), it is an extremely difficult time when they first rejoin society. While the downtown parole office has no funds for vocational training, they can pay up to $10 per day to support parolees immediate lodging needs. The Parole Manager estimates are that approximately 22 parolees are supported in this manner at all times. When this writer suggested that some possibility existed for the formation of a center for teaching offenders job obtaining techniques as well as doing job development, the Parole Manager indicated that such a center would be of help in a number of ways, to his officers as well as the offenders. Subsequent interviews with a Parole Supervisor and a Parole Officer echoed the words of the Parole Manager. Both officers expressed the opinion that employment, and the issues that surround it, are extremely important, although behind public safety and client treatment needs. But the paradox between the importance of employment in exiting the Criminal Justice System, and the little attention and resources given it continues. These officers have some limited contacts with potential employers, but describe them as almost non-existent. As with Case Managers in Community Corrections, time constraints generally preclude any routine 37

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regular effort to change this through job development. This is not to say that they give it no attention; the supervisor maintains a job file with such resources and contacts as have come to her attention, but advises that the file is wholly inadequate and of little use. In the past they have used the State's Job Service, but with uneven success. Both feel strongly that any new significant effort toward job development would be of great utility. They have treatment suppliers to whom they can refer clients for their needs in violence control, drug rehabilitation and such, but no valued job placement function that they can refer clients to. Parole Officers do use temporary employment services, since they are not required to make the random phone calls to verify the client's whereabouts as Community Corrections is. This is not to say they will not contact employers as needed, but clearly these contacts are not as intrusive to the employer's workday as in Community Corrections. Also, while they match the criminal record to the potential job to avoid temptation, there is no employment evaluation form used. It was agreed that such a form could be helpful and perhaps should be completed as part of the prison release procedure, then forwarded to them or any other receiving part of the system. It occurs to this writer that this might consist of two parts, one of which 38

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could be some form of resume to present to potential employers. Additionally, there is no brochure or other document available to present to potential employers that explains the process. Both officers indicated that they almost never intervene in such a fashion that would cost a client their job, and that they will cooperate with employers who contact them and indicate that a problem is developing. The issue of women's employment also came up as needing attention, although they tentatively agreed that women seem to do better in the job market than do the men. Very early in the development stage of this investigation, this writer asked a highly placed and respected member of the State's Department of Public Safety about the current status of rehabilitation efforts in the DOC. His reply was that "rehabilitation wasn't funded". While this study did not attempt to investigate this aspect, this reply seems to be substantially correct. However, efforts to upgrade the offender's chances for success in the future are being made, although not under the title of rehabilitation. In addition to academic and vocational education programs, work training is occurring. Programs devoted to heavy equipment operation, welding, and 39

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janitorial service were among those mentioned. The heavy equipment program appears to be particularly successful, with repeated references to the fact that its graduates "don't come back". Private sector jobs of this type frequently pay in excess of $40,000 per year, small wonder these felons "don't come back" Whether you call it rehabilitation, or improving cultural capital, these activities are clearly worthwhile. Skills learned in prison industries do have value. The case of a prison trained carpenter that resulted in a positive outcome was discussed. At the time of our interview they had a client with welding skills, a skill currently in demand, but no pathway to place him. Through other contacts and readings, this author has a growing sense that some changes in this say reviewing which skills the market is calling for, could be very helpful in shifting prison industry skills taught. Research involving potential employers might be very helpful in this area allowing for a "pull through" system from prison to employer, rather than a "push through". By way of explanation, some inmates of the prison system are instructed in some very sophisticated janitorial skills, with the expectation that they will find employment at above the poverty wage level. Unfortunately, all too often neither the desired wage level nor the job itself is forthcoming. This is a 40

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situation that this writer sees as "push through". But if a particular labor demand could be identified in the job market, and then the inmates trained to meet this demand, they would have an improved potential for successful employment. This could be referred to as "pull through" job preparation. Parole Officers do feel an obligation toward job placement, but, as noted above, the actual effort expended is minimal. Also, they seldom accompany clients to job interviews. The final analysis continues to be, as it is in Community Corrections, agreement on the importance of employment, but little or no job development activity. This apparently is aggravated by a lack of funds to do the job, and perhaps a lack of expertise on how to deal with the private business segment of our society. But all agree it is worth doing, and it clearly can be done if the needed resources and expertise is provided. As mentioned previously, this writer also met with several members of Community Corrections. Interviews with several Case Managers in three different halfway houses indicated that employment there too takes a position significantly less important than public safety or client counseling needs. The first Case Manager interviewed indicated that she spent little 41

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time at job development, and had not received any training for it. She described her employment contacts as "very poor". She knew of no form relating to the evaluation of a client's needs and abilities. There is however an employment verification form that must be completed by the employer and returned to the case manager assuring that the employer was aware of the client's criminal record. The employers are free to contact the Case Managers, but issues of confidentiality prohibit the Case Manager from discussing the details of the record. No effort is made to convince the potential employer that the Case Managers are doing an effective screening job on the client. Through a process generally referred to as "matching", the criminal background of the offender is compared to the available jobs. The outcome is that the offender knows as he or she begins their job search that certain types of jobs are closed to them. These informants advised that Case Managers never accompany clients on job interviews. Subsequent interviews confirmed that this is almost the universal practice, not only in Community Corrections, but also throughout the criminal justice system. It was further learned that no literature exists that outlines for potential employers some of the positive aspects of hiring a halfway house client. After all, these people are subject 42

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to random urine analysis and their behavior is under constant scrutiny. It was mentioned several times that these clients are on a "short leash", and almost invariably show up for work on time. Further, such literature could acquaint potential employers of the job matching that goes on, as well as offers of cooperation in dealing with any on the job problems in the future. Community Corrections has some mandated restrictions of compliance that are troublesome to employment outcomes. Case Managers are required by law to contact employers by random phone calls twice a week. The purpose of these calls is to verify that the clients are where they are supposed to be. Employers reportedly find these calls annoying and intrusive to the conduct of their business. To make matters worse, some halfway house Directors require their Case Managers to make as many as four and five such calls per week. This naturally worsens the relationship with the employer, but this informant felt that the policy had a positive effect on controlling the client, and led to more successful outcomes. A second severe restriction to Community Correction's clients is the prohibition of driver's licenses. While transportation is allowed if furnished by others, such as a client's family member or even the employer 43

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themselves, clients may not drive a motor vehicle while confined to a halfway house. This of course increases the mobility problem that almost all ex-offenders face. Case Managers do feel an obligation to mediate job problems if they can, and will do so. One Case Manager volunteered that some of the reasons that a client will leave a job, even when they do not have another one lined up are: difficulty with the front line supervisor, they don't like the job, and irresponsibility on the part of the client. Difficulty with the supervisor was mentioned by several of the interviewees, and not only from Community Corrections. In yet another halfway house, Case Managers, in cooperation with another staff member, devote about 1 0% of their time in job development, but they describe their placement contacts as poor. Neighboring businesses do offer some ongoing relationships with one such company having a history of hiring approximately 15 clients over the years, but their pay standard is not very high. No record of continued employment after leaving the influence of the halfway house was known. Again, no formal 44

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pre-employment evaluation form is utilized, but a high priority is placed on "matching" the job to the criminal record. If a client fails to find a job unaided within ten days or so, the Case Manager starts pushing them to show more effort in their job search, and encourage them to "take what you can get". These Case Managers indicated that their clients have low job skills and almost no employment history. In addition they lack social skills such as how to fill out a job application. In anthropological terms, they lack cultural and social capital. Expressions of such deficiencies among ex-offenders were reported by many members of the CJS throughout this investigation. These informants indicated that skills learned in prison industries can be helpful, but not in a high percent of the cases. A "Butcher Certificate" was mentioned as being issued in the past, but no one could recall if it led to employment in that field. Further, they had not heard of one for some time. One halfway house Director feels that some of the employers take advantage of the client's vulnerable position, although he did not elaborate. He also verified that employers don't like all the constraints imposed on the clients, particularly the attendance verification phone calls which are considered intrusive and 45

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time consuming. After placement, most of the contact with employers deals exclusively with attendance. In a third halfway house, issues of public safety also take precedence over everything else. Case Managers there also match the criminal record to all proposed jobs, controlling for potential situations that might give the client opportunities to repeat previous offenses. Also, positions of trust are usually avoided. Accordingly, jobs in such places as hospitals or day care centers are eliminated. Some other issues that were brought out at this halfway house were: 1. The client must be under constant direct supervision of someone at the employer's place of business, and are not allowed to supervise other clients under DOC or Court control. 2. Temporary services are not favored since the contract between the client and the temp service usually precludes direct phone calls to verify whereabouts of the client while at the temp service's customer 46

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3. The Case Managers here indicated that telephone solicitor companies are not deemed desirable employers since they tend to fail in reporting client absences. Also, the clients are typically "con men" and good at influencing and manipulating the public. They feel that this type of employment raises issues of public safety. 4. Responsibility is new and foreign to most clients, and this presents job problems. 5. Very few of the clients get fired. More likely the halfway house staff would "pull the plug", for a variety of reasons. This is in direct contrast to the view of the Parole Officers referenced earlier. 6. Satisfactory employers must be willing to "work with" the halfway house staff. Examples of this cooperation would be for the employer to phone the Case Manager as soon as the client is not performing as required, such as arriving late, not showing up at all, or being troublesome on the job. 7. This halfway house does have some favored employers that have worked closely with them over the years in meeting the needs of all concerned. The Case Managers are reluctant to send these favored 47

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employers any client that might foul up this relationship. This suggests to this writer that these employers tend to get the "cream of the crop". 8 Clients at halfway houses are in fact almost always repeat offenders. First and second time offenders are often given probation. These informants see this as the outcome of the offense being plea-bargained down, and view the situation as getting worse 9. In the past, according to these halfway house staff members, it was not unusual for a client to stay for 12 to 18 months. This is now a rarity, with the average stay now more like 3 to 4 months. This means that the process of stabilization of the client is diminished greatly, and they often revert to old bad habits shortly after leaving the controlled structure that the halfway house provides. The English and Mande study of Community Corrections confirmed that placement in halfway houses is now a short-term event. "Thirty percent of the group stayed in the program less than 2 months ; 23% stayed 3-4 months. Nearly half (47%) stayed longer than four months. Very few stayed longer than one year. Transition clients in the study group stayed for 48

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an average of21 weeks (the median was 18 weeks); the average length of stay for Diversion Clients was also 18 weeks (the Diversion median was 13 weeks)" (English and Mande 1991 :22) 10. Clients tend to do what they want to upon leaving the system. Even those with significant funds when leaving may "blow" it all in a few riotous days. 11. Case Managers confirmed that clients under their control are not permitted to enter into contracts, including marriage, or drive a vehicle without specific prior approval which often involves clearing it with their DOC liaison in cases involving transitional clients. This halfway house does have a full time job developer on their staff. He spends all of his workweek in some variation of the efforts needed to perform his job. He has had about 30 hours training in job development, most of which came from an independent contractor. He described his employer contacts as good, and seems comfortable with them. He does not have any employment evaluation form to aid in determining client needs. He views skills learned in "prison industries" as of little value. Too often 49

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they lead a client to unrealistic expectations such as being paid $12 per hour for janitorial work which actually pays about half of that. The Job Developer feels that many clients work only because the house requires it. Too often, once they get away from the "big brother" atmosphere, they fail. He feels that they just cannot seem to, or do not want to, stand on their own two feet. Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) usually deals only with offenders aged 18 or above with an occasional16 or 17 year old with a particularly bad history. Their clients are usually assigned to them directly by the courts, with some relatively rare cases out of DOC as a result of sentence reconsideration by the court. An experienced ISP supervisor expressed what proved to be an oft-repeated theme ; the prime consideration in their work is above all public safety As mentioned previously, assignment to ISP is the closest thing to being consigned to the prison system, which is where their failures usually wind up. One ISP supervisor interviewed has a staff of 17 probation officers, 50

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each with a caseload of approximately 20 to 22 active cases and an estimated 10 to 15 inactive. Inactive cases are those still under their supervision, but engaged in some program with issues such as drug or alcohol addiction, and violence abatement. Clients might also be assigned to the County Jail work release program, which releases them only for employment purposes, with all leisure time required to be served in jail. A fair estimate of the total population of the Denver District Court ISP clients at the time of this interview would be about 320 active and 130 inactive. Approximately one half of their clients come from the Drug Court, and it was this officer that suggested that attendance at a Drug Court session for about an hour or two should prove informative. That experience was indeed enlightening and is described later in this paper. Normally, ISP is divided into two phases. Successful completion of phase one, which is more restrictive, for approximately 90 days entitles the client to enter the more lenient phase two. Thereafter, success in phase two for some 90 days normally leads to assignment out of ISP into regular probation. Phase one might require a 9PM curfew, urine analysis once or twice a week, a field visit to the client's residence once a week, and some employer contact. Phase two would diminish these restrictions somewhat to 51

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I I I I I I perhaps a 1 OPM curfew, urine analysis every two weeks, less frequent residence visits and so forth. The department deals with relatively minor infractions, but major infractions are brought to the attention of the sentencing court with recommendation of assignment to DOC. As previously discussed, the courts discourage the practice of bringing minor violations before them. In discussing the relative importance of employment to successful completion of probation, this supervisor indicated that, while extremely important, the level of importance varies from client to client. For example, if drug usage is present, it must be dealt with first. It was from this source that one of the first insightful comments regarding the role of employment in an offender's life was expressed to this writer. When a client is working, he or she cannot revert to the behavior that caused them to get into trouble in the first place. This may seem to be simplistic and obvious, but as was seen in chapter two the relative importance of employment is basic. The reader should be aware that this factor is embroiled within a very complex and stressful social scene. 52

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ISP Probation Officers have a "duty to warn" prospective employers concerning the criminal history of the client. It must be divulged to employers, and confirmation of that fact in writing is mandatory This "duty to warn", which is an issue of public safety, also requires that the client not be placed in an inappropriate situation related to their past problems. Thus, a child molester is not permitted to work in a school or childcare center, nor an embezzler work around cash. This is another example of the "matching" process, and appears to be universal to the CJS. Employers may be made aware of the criminal history and the nature of the offense, but issues of confidentiality prohibit the specific details being revealed. For example, if the felon had committed a crime of violence, this could be divulged, but not the victim's name or the location of the offense. This ISP supervisor's understanding is that his staff have not had much, if any, training in job development. Each officer has their own ways of doing things, but usually they outsource employment needs, say to the Department of Labor or Job Service. When advised of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) training program in job development, he felt that freeing up his staff from their probationary responsibilities for the required 36 hours would be impractical. 53

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When this investigator outlined the goals of a proposed employment center for offenders which will be discussed later in this paper, the informant felt certain that it would be of benefit to his department and would be well used. Of perhaps greatest importance in the outcome of this interview was the realization by this author, that public safety demands that the control of the offender, including their relationship with the employer, remain firmly in the hands of the parole or probation officer. This could be tricky, but solvable. At the conclusion of our interview, the supervisor agreed to this author interviewing one of his ISP officers in direct control of some members of the offender population. That meeting proved quite fortuitous. The ISP officer turned out to be particularly well educated and experienced. He holds both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in criminal justice, and has been in this type of work for some 20 years. His experience indicates that offenders will find a way to survive, although most of us find some of their ways unconventional to say the least. He offered some extremely insightful remarks regarding the offender profile, speaking in generalities of course Typically, offenders will not take responsibility for 54

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their actions. They have low education levels, usually caused by poor school experiences in their youth. Not only that, but they can't seem to grasp the need for further adult education, which should not stress academics, but rather to teach skills needed in normal lifestyles. This is a major deterrent to their success. Drug users see themselves as disabled, due largely to the fact that they feel so poorly most of the time. Since most have achieved little success in their lives, they are accustomed to failure, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Often drug or alcohol dependency has led to retardation of the maturation process, a situation this author has seen in young people outside the criminal justice system. Many of the offenders are youthful (age demographic statistics of prison populations confirm this), and crime hits them at this extremely crucial stage of life when they are seeking a career, a spouse, and the other stabilizing factors sought by all of us. The officer pointed out that many of these wrongdoers participate in activities that he referred to as "street crimes". Felonies such as theft, burglary, violence and the like, are the very type of crime that plays upon the public's worst fears. After all, an embezzler of two million dollars is not 55

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viewed as much of a threat to most of us as is a burglar. The end result is that these culprits develop a mind set that might be called the "criminal identity" personality. The reader should keep in mind that much crime is exciting to do, not routine and boring as working for a living often is. Another unusual aspect brought out in this interview is the fact that some of these clients have had severe head injuries from auto accidents or bar fights. This may have left them with brain damage that makes it difficult for them to behave normally. For example, they know what they want to say, but often have problems choosing the correct words. Some employers are aware of this and request a neurology assessment, but since these cost in the range of $600, they are not required by the courts. This officer agrees with the premise that jobs are an unmistakable advantage for offenders leaving the criminal justice system. It was during this interview that many of the unique aspects of employment to the criminal population reported in the previous chapter were revealed to this writer. Many offenders find jobs by pleading that they have made a mistake or two, but are now ready to go "straight". Some employers find such a plea difficult to refuse. It is this officer's experience that client violence on the job is extremely rare. Also, offenders are no more likely to steal from their 56

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employer than is any other "normal" employee. He remarked further that after all; "most theft experienced by business is committed by employees". The informant's response to the question that perhaps employer front line supervisors should have special training was positive. "It certainly wouldn't hurt. They need the 'patience of a saint"'. Offenders never get complemented, and few employers hand out such complements. But success breeds success, and most of these people have never experienced any. They tend to overreact to any criticism or rejection. The limited thought process many have is often coupled with little work experience, which often prevents them from appropriate performance on the job (such as asking the boss "what's next" upon completion of a task), or from seeing any possible career path. He cited an example where a client took a job pumping gas, and then, two weeks into the job,.following a conversation with a mechanic at the same employer, quit because he now determined he wanted to be a mechanic. He couldn't see the training and progression involved. Since most offenders have poor reading skills, they do not react favorably to written instructions, such as memos. Nor do they react well to metaphors and examples. Their thinking pattern requires straight, simple sentences. Such as; do this first, and when done, do this. Due in large to 57

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limited job history, these people often just don't know how to work, and like a youngster on their first job, they must be clearly told what is expected of them. Among sources of problems on the job, the officer indicated that when an offender gets into difficulties on the job, they will often hide that fact from their boss. Also, time off needed to keep required appointments with the courts or Probation Officer, is too often either unexplained to the employer or called in as sick time. Further, when only 2 hours may be needed, the offender will take the whole day off. One informant, with a long history of supervising ex-offenders for his company confirmed this. If proper communication does not take place, the employer, who is in the dark about the real problem, cannot be sympathetic or helpful. This can result in termination. However, as with more normal new hires, the first couple of weeks are usually a "honeymoon". This officer concurs that the relationship between employment and recidivism is robust. It is his view that, in part for the reasons previously mentioned, there are some aspects of causality to the relationship. But avoidance of recidivism, he suggests, perhaps more accurately reflects the 58

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attitude of the offender toward how he or she is going to live out their life. Again, in anthropological terms, this perspective is seen as cultural capital. The ex-offender may have had a positive shift of attitude. Lawful behavior is clearly cultural capital, and when joined with meaningful employment, permits the individual to participate successfully and legally in our society. One further comment of interest is that ISP is seeing more women in the system now. This may be due in part to the fact that more women are now employed, which puts them in the proximity of opportunities for criminal behavior that does not exist in the home. Also, the observation, spoken half in jest, that Probation Officers tire of seeing outcomes of drug abuse, and say, tongue in cheek, that it would be nice to see a "real" criminal once in awhile. As the illegal use of drugs increased over recent years, prosecution of these culprits tended to clog the courts, resulting in greater delays in determining outcomes of all trials. To relieve this situation, a special Drug Court was created in the State of Colorado, 2nd Judicial District, which is the Denver District Court. This court deals specifically and exclusively with drug related charges. This initiative was driven in part by the realization that 59

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many of those charged under controlled substance statutes were as much addicts as criminals, and that their needs differed from other offender issues. This raises the issue of whether drug use is a matter of criminality or of public health. In February of 1998, at the suggestion of an ISP officer, this author attended a session of the Drug Court. During the time spent observing the court, from 9:50AM until 11 :30AM, the Court processed 25 offenders. Some of these hearings were new cases, but most were offenders under the jurisdiction of the court reporting on their current status. That is less than 5 minutes per case. A young woman magistrate presided The audience numbered approximately fifty-five persons. This author's notes indicate that new defendants, and those reporting to the court (most frequently to present outcomes of required urine analysis) totaled approximately 19 males and 6 females. Several males, perhaps as many as six, were handcuffed and dressed in orange jump suits, indicating that they were currently in custody. The magistrate brought up the subject of employment about 8 times. This represents about 40% of those who came before her, when you eliminate the men who were in prison uniforms Apparently, the magistrate attaches a good deal of importance to the 60

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benefits of paid employment. When a client indicated no employment, the magistrate mentioned a "Job Club" and referred them to it. Subsequent investigation revealed that the Job Club is an in-house effort of the court to enhance employability through education, resume writing, and other employment related programs. This investigator followed up with a meeting with the Job Club director which is described below. One of the few, yet best organized efforts to improve offender skills needed for successful job hunting is occurring under the auspices of the Drug Court. This is the referred to "Job Club". During this meeting with the director of the Job Club, the core concepts of the initiative were outlined as follows. The order of importance of each of these concepts varies from client to client depending upon that individual's needs. 1. What are the offender's interests and attitude? A computer program is used in determining the career interests of the offenders. When finished, this evaluation prints out six job interest areas upon which to base decisions and career directions. 61

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2. A strong attempt is made to make the offenders understand what is at the heart of potential employer's decisions, i.e., that employees must contribute in such a fashion that they make money (profit) for the employer. This concept seems to be lacking in the understanding of the clients. Also, the employer's need and desire for motivated employees is emphasized. 3. Clients are assessed for learning style, so that they can be successful on the job, and hopefully progress along some sort of career path. Most of these concepts are exercised in group, rather than individual, sessions. These meetings were formerly held at the Denver City and County building at 3 PM Friday, and lasted approximately one hour. Recently however, the program has been expanded to a weeklong effort, and now has separate offices that include a meeting room that can handle about 20 participants. The program consists of half-day morning sessions covering a wide variety of life skill issues. It retains the job counseling aspects previously described, and the clients may return in the afternoon for individual attention. 62

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Of considerable interest are the perceived comparison between the beliefs of the offenders and those of the potential employers. The Job Club Director feels that the offenders place too much negative importance on their record. They are too quick to blame failure to obtain a job on their criminal record. The Director sees this as a form of denial that allows the wrongdoers to rationalize, or ignore, other negative aspects such as appearance, few work skills, poor work history, or any other factor that employers review. The Job Club emphasizes quite strongly that, while any criminal record should not be hidden, neither should it be over emphasized. The Drug Court has a process that is perhaps unique to their function. Defendants convicted may or may not be immediately sentenced. Since addiction is often involved, the Court may put the defendant on "hold", that is delay sentencing while treatment is obtained. This seems to this writer as a sort of trial probation, and the guilty defendant may escape the final verdict of guilty if his or her conduct satisfies the Court. Accordingly, the Job Club personnel remind their clients who are in this predicament that there is, after all, a distinction between being "charged" with a felony, and being "convicted" of a felony If a client experiences success on the job, and avoids dysfunctional behavior, the charge can be dropped, and no criminal record established. The Director explained that it is important that such nuances be explained during job interviews. 63

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Up to 75% of Job Club clients do not have a high school diploma. The "Club" assists their clients in the preparation of a proper resume. Resumes are, after all, a real stumbling block for these job applicants, as it is for any applicant, at least until an impressive work history has been developed. The Job Club does not work with all the offenders processed through the Drug Court. In its two and one half years existence (1998), they have worked with approximately 490 clients out of the some 4000 under the control of the Court. Job Club clients are typically the ones that cannot seem to find or hold a job. Referrals of clients to the Job Club come from three main sources: 1. Pretrial Drug Court Officers, of which there are two, with one more planned. 2. Probation Officers, both regular and ISP. Thus far, this avenue has accounted for an estimated 80% of their referrals. 3. The Drug Court Judge or Magistrate. When I recounted my experience in observing the Drug Court in action, when 40% of the non-jail offenders 64

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were referred to them, the Director seemed encouraged, indicating they have been striving for the Court to emphasize employment more vigorously. The Job Club makes little effort in the direction of job development, although they do have some contacts. The rationale, which appears quite valid, is that highly skilled clients rarely come before them. Thus, should a welder appear, it might happen only once a year, so why try to develop a base of employers looking for welders? This attitude toward job development is not unique to the Job Club. Almost all of the input from various branches of the criminal justice system reflects some variation of this theme. The question arises, does the concept of job development need some form of a new and better design, or are the rewards in terms of outcome not commensurate with the effort that must be expended? 65

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CHAPTER FOUR HINDRANCES TO EMPLOYMENT "There was an overwhelming unwillingness to hire ex-offenders convicted of violent and sexual crimes, and crimes against children" (Albright 1996: 133). The obstacles to locating meaningful work for the ex-offender group are extensive, to say the least, and difficult to overcome. What emerges, and becomes abundantly clear, is the complexity of the process. When the litany of hurdles they must deal with is examined, one begins to see how easy it is for them to fail. Some of these problems are of their own making, but many are not. The reader should recognize that the thousands of felons in Colorado's prison system were not born mentally defective. While examination of the causes of crime is outside the purpose of this paper, some understanding of the results of their life experiences are necessary. There can be no doubt that members of this offender group must learn to take full responsibility for their actions. But, we must keep in mind that many have been victims of inequality. It behooves us all to keep in mind William Ryan's term of "Blaming the Victim, --justifying inequality by finding defects in 66

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the victims of inequality ... (Ryan 1976:xiii). This chapter will scrutinize some of the barriers ex-felons face in seeking meaningful employment. This writer is of the opinion that perhaps the most tragic of these hindrances, no matter how it came about, is the low educational level of these actors. One experienced educator, who is deeply involved in the educational resources available to the offenders while they are incarcerated, voiced the opinion that in today's complex society a ninth grade education is necessary to hold a job. Many of these wrongdoers simply did not attain that level before running afoul of the law. Happily, the Colorado Legislature has mandated that educational opportunities within the Criminal Justice System must be comparable to those in our normal society. Serious efforts are made to upgrade this population while in the system. As important as this matter is, only three percent of the Colorado DOC budget is directed toward this effort. Clearly, lack of literacy is not only a major hindrance to employment, it negatively impacts the process of living what we prefer to call a "normal life style". 67

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I< In his marvelous book, "A is for OX", Barry Sanders examines the outcome of illiteracy, not for the prison population, but for everyone. Of particular interest is the description he gives of the work of the Soviet psychologist Alexander Luria. In the 1930's, Luria did some important work in Uzbekistan and Kirghzia where he worked with mostly non-literates. He learned that these remote peasants could not conceptualize abstract thought, and took the position that only literacy allows it, including a clear concept of "self'. In response to abstract questions such as description, they resorted to adamant statements from real life experience. Luria postulated that they could not use deductive logic. The case is made that this is perhaps the way of all non-literates, although many anthropologists would not agree with these findings. Sanders reinforces the issue that literacy is crucial to the concept of self in contemporary industrialized societies. In fact, those who are literate have difficulty understanding the thought process of those who are not, for our pre-literate experience dates to our dimly remembered childhood. He argues that illiteracy creates hollow shells of people in our society. Not only does he postulate that most members of society cannot understand how these lawbreakers think, he brings in to question the very basic concept of our 68

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prison system. "It will do no good to lock up these young people. The efficacy of the penal system rests on the basic civilizing matrix of a conscience and a sense of remorse-feelings of guilt and thus a desire to change" (Sanders 1994:78). This suggests that our society's reliance on imprisonment as punishment may be flawed, for the inmates view the world differently. While illiteracy or low educational levels may be seen as factors leading to criminal behavior, it must be remembered that not all who suffer these hindrances turn to crime. Mr. Sanders is not alone in his stance concerning this critical aspect of cultural capital that we call literacy. Others have discovered similar outcomes when researching individuals whose early schooling was incomplete or dysfunctional. "During the formative years of cognitive development, my informants; socializers did not stress literacy. This resulted in permanent linguistic impairment, which in it worst form left informants unable to verbalize complex emotion, and left them without the cognitive skills required to process complex thinking issues" (Fleisher 1995: 65). This view was essentially confirmed by one experienced ISP officer who contributed the insightful remarks described earlier. This officer also viewed the majority of his clients as "concrete thinkers", which he described as 69

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black-or-white thinking such as one finds in a child. This "eoncrete" thinking leads to problems in employment "They may purposely screw up an assignment much as a child will, simply because they don't want to do it". As we have seen, such behavior on the job may relate to the lack of the background anthropologists choose to call cultural capitaL Some of the principal factors in preparing these individuals for their job search in our highly industrialized and urbanized society are found in this domain. Many members of the ex-offender group must be coached on how to prepare a resume, how to fill out an application, how to maintain eye contact with potential employers, as well as how to dress for the interview. While few of us become proficient in applying for a job, since we do it so seldom, much of the required behavior was drilled into us by our parents or learned in other settings. If an applicant exhibits a lack of this normal socialization, should it come as a surprise that such a candidate will not be at the top of the list for hiring? The impact of nurturing upon the personality of young children is well known. "Children whose families were never able to convey to them a sense of being valued and a feeling of coherence are in a poor position to cope 70

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with the world of school or work. They are likely to be in deep trouble by the time they become adolescents" (Schorr 1989:141). The prison population has reached adulthood, and interventions designed to redress the wrongs of childhood are not known to this writer. The child's resulting warped view of how the world works is summed up by one writer in the term "defensive world view". "A defensive worldview has six traits: a feeling of vulnerability and need to protect oneself; a belief that no one can be trusted; a need to maintain social distance; a willingness to use violence and intimidation to repel others; an attraction to similarly defensive people; and an expectation that no one will provide aid" (Fleisher 1995:104). The outcome of this so-called defensive worldview appears to this writer to identify with criminal behavior. "A defensive worldview is recognized by its emphasis on self-protection, suspicion, impulsiveness, insensitivity, reliance on physical force, propensity for risk-taking behavior, and a reluctance to become socially intimate" (Fleisher 1995:104). As an obstruction to finding and holding a decent job, the ramifications of this personality are immense. "People who carry a defensive worldview may misinterpret social situations and, from our perspective, say the wrong things and behave badly in those situations; they are likely to be unaware of these miscues and feel as if they 71

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are behaving and speaking the 'right way"' (Fleisher 1995: 106). Many poorly educated people just do not fare well in our society. They have difficulty finding and holding decent employment The anthropological perspective would emphasize that the contextual constraints found in their upbringing are at the heart of the problems being encountered in adulthood. Additionally, as was reported earlier informants repeatedly indicated that it is common for releasees from the criminal justice system to lack a support group. Communication with, and through, various friends and kinship members is a leading method of obtaining employment In his investigation of the impact of tire plant closings in an Ohio city, and the resulting chronic unemployment, Gregory Pappas verifies the importance of a support group "Most people I interviewed preferred to turn to their network of friends and relatives. Working people know about their employers' job openings, and friends or relatives can often help the job seeker 'get in at' the place where they themselves work. In this way several generations of a family come to work in a particular plant" (Pappas 1989:37) Such a support group is a classic example of an anthropologist's view of social capital at work in our complex industrialized economy. Small wonder that many ex-felons have difficulty finding good jobs, for they often lack this informal network of friends 72

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and kinship. The criminal justice professionals that contributed to this study acknowledge the need for an ongoing support group. Their view is that the absence of one in the traditional sense can be at least partially replaced by a public continuum of aid in clothing, food, and shelter. This author would add support in finding suitable employment to that list. A support group consisting of friends and relatives can do much more for a job seeker than find employment opportunities. Such a time can be devastating to one's self esteem and morale. The classic book on job hunting advises anyone engaged in this process: "to enlist some of your family or close friends specifically to help you with your emotional, social, and spiritual needs, when you are going through a difficult transition period, such as a job hunt or career-change-so that you do not have to face this time all by yourself' (Bolles 1999: 125). In addition to this group having poor social capital, which we have defined as "knowing the right people", we must continually return to their shortfall in the cultural capital attributes that may readily be converted into income. One of the most significant factors in cultural capital, educational level, has already been discussed. They are also in short-supply in work skills and 73

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work history. Work skills involve much more than marketable abilities and experience. There are, of course, some who are well educated and have skills that are in demand, but they are exceptions. Members of this population have often never been exposed to a same sex role model who values work. The men in this group frequently never observed their father, or other male relative, going off to work on a regular basis. The result is a poor or non-existent work ethic. As mentioned earlier, many in the offender population simply do not know how to work. They lack punctuality and the ability to cooperate with others, so important in matters of job retention. When an employer hires someone to fill a job opening, the expectations are that this work ethic will be there. Too often it isn't, which makes it difficult for the releasee to hold onto the job, no matter how desperately it is needed. Some other frequently mentioned factors exhibited by these transgressors are the unwillingness to accept direction, and inability to take responsibility for their actions. Several informants indicated that this manifested itself as trouble on the job is several ways. Difficulty with the supervisor was cited several times. The miscreant perceived that his boss was "out to get him", and that "he knew what he was doing". There may well be an element of truth in these charges. Even when a company's 74

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management wants to hire ex-felons, the front line supervisor may decide to make certain that the outcome is negative. This situation is not unique to these circumstances. Lower level management often sabotages the intentions of the higher ups. So it seems appropriate to get the lower level supervisor to buy into any hiring procedure, which suggests some type of special training. Irresponsibility of the ex-offender on the job also leads to termination. Claims of "I didn't like the job" are apparently common. Yet another of the most serious constraints blocking employment is mobility. These ex-prisoners have difficulty in finding and holding jobs, in part, because they are often forced to rely on public transportation. It must be remembered that public transportation does not serve all potential employer's place of business well. One case manager in the Denver District Drug Court's Job Club initiative, discussed earlier, eases this problem through the simple, yet effective, process of keeping a "fish bowl" on his desk containing a supply of bus tokens. He admonishes his clients to help themselves to what they need, although he confided in me later that he knew who would use the tokens properly, and those who would try to abuse the system. 75

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As previously reported, clients still living in halfway houses are not permitted to have a driver's license. This group is in fact prohibited from entering into any contractual agreement, including marriage, without the approval of their Case Manager or, if a transitional client, the approval of the Department of Corrections. Once an offender is granted parole, this restriction against having a driver's license is lifted. This is true even if their prior offense was vehicular homicide. However, the parolee too often does not have the resources to purchase a vehicle so as to take advantage of this opportunity. So, mobility remains a tremendous obstacle. The issues discussed above appear to this writer to be the most significant deterrents to meaningful employment, but there are many others Employers are concerned about issues of insurance and bonding Fortunately, the State makes programs available that overcome these objections, but potential employers are often not aware of these opportunities. In addition to health problems such as drug or alcohol addiction, this group has other severe social problems. Personal cleanliness is a factor, as are deficiencies in wardrobes and ready cash. Troubled relationships with a spouse or significant other are habitually present. Also, 76

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basic skills on filling out job applications, doing job interviews, and following up on potential employers are either deficient or non existent. Offenders have been marginalized, with some members of society demanding its "pound of flesh". Potential employers have grave reservations about exposing their other employees to possible violence in the work place. However, informants consistently reported that such violence is rare. One parole official with over 30 years of experience could recall only two such instances. In his opinion, violence usually occurs off the job or when the felon is unemployed. Public opinion can operate against the parolee in other ways as well. Many people raise the question of why should offenders be helped when so many "honest and upright" citizens are competing for the same jobs. In a similar vein, some members of the criminal justice system feel that the majority, if not all, of the responsibility for finding work rests with the client. They feel that the client won't value the job if it is "handed" to them, and that releasees must learn to view themselves as competent and competitive. Prison industries, where employment skills may be learned in the production 77

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of goods sold to the private sector, are not well received either. They are perceived by many as unfair competition to private sector businesses. This author has intended to provide the reader with a clearer, more informed, understanding of some of the difficulties that must be faced and overcome in order to successfully reintegrate ex-offenders into society where matters of employment are involved. Unfortunately, several of the informants interviewed during this investigation reported that these issues seem to be growing worse as the clients they receive have more and more troubled histories. The obstacles to decent employment are varied and substantial. Other researchers have come to similar conclusions. "Despite the apparent importance of. employment, it is often difficult for prison releasees to obtain jobs. They face a variety of employment barriers, caused by poor work histories, low skill levels, prejudice on the part of potential employers, statutory restrictions and similar factors. In addition, the time immediately following release from prison may be a critical adjustment period, requiring the releasee to deal successfully with a large number of problems" (Toborg 1977: ix). 78

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CHAPTER FIVE JOB DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS "Yet increasing concentrations of joblessness have been consistently associated with urban crime." (Danziger 1996: 126) The relationship of employment and recidivism has been recognized for at least two decades, and perhaps longer. Accordingly, employment service attempts are not a new endeavor, and they take a variety of forms. "More than 250 such programs exist and offer a wide range of services, including counseling, work orientation, training, job development, job placement and follow-up assistance after placement" (Toborg 1977:iii). Some of the assistance provided includes medical attention, counseling, food, clothing, transportation, and childcare. As has already been seen, the ex-offender population has a wide variety of needs. But the intent of this paper is weighted more toward issues of job development, rather than the multitude of obstacles that must be overcome by these wrongdoers. 79

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It would be unfair for this author not to recognize the efforts of the State's Job Service in the placement of ex-felons. The Denver metro area has a full time placement specialist whose total work effort is directed toward that end. She interviews and attempts to help approximately 200 a month from this group. In addition to this specialist, the Job Service system attempts to help any who seek assistance. But the nature of the majority of this assistance does not address the special needs of the group this paper examines. Nonetheless, this effort warrants description, for it verifies that activity in this direction is taking place. The Job Service policy, other than the above referred to specialist, is to treat offenders in much the same manner, with some minor differences, as any other citizen seeking work. Some of the processes that are available to all releasees are: 1) definition of their goals, 2) area of job preference (choice), 3) evaluation by an employment specialist, 4) how to use "Job Service", 5) review of the job opening list, including necessary applicant skill requirements, 6) how to apply for a job, 7) referrals, including how to get there, 8) the best method and technique to expose their criminal history, 9) if needed, a no cost GED can be earned at Red Rocks Community College, 1 0) reference to various vocational trades, 11) significant gaps in what the 80

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applicant offers are examined, and they are referred to supportive services to increase skill levels. As may be seen, some of these steps are unique to releasees, but they generally follow those offered to all who are seeking help. This paper has already examined the Job Club associated with Denver's Drug Court. As was seen, this effort is laudable, but serves only a limited segment of the offender group, specifically those with drug problems. Happily, there is another fine effort that shows what can be accomplished given a competent, professional staff, and adequate resources The DOC Community Reintegration and Transition Service headquarters at the Community College of Denver's Technical Education Center West Campus, and is a program within the Colorado DOC education division. Within the description of the program provided this author by a staff member, we find that many of the needs described previously are fulfilled. "Assistance takes many forms but is not limited to intensive counseling, resume development, job referral, financial assistance with housing, work clothing or tools" (personal correspondence). The program touched the lives of over 2500 inmates in the fiscal year from 7/1/97 to 6/30/98 but much of 81

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this contact was minor in content. However, the triumph of the program is found in the outcomes of the 346 inmates enrolled in the Job Training Partnership Act. Of the 234 who completed the program, the recidivism rate of this group proved to be an astonishingly low 2.31% (personal correspondence) This investigator would expect an increase in the recidivism rate of this group over time, but even with that expectation, this is a hugely successful effort. One that might well serve as a matrix for an expanded program The reader will recall early in this paper we reviewed the huge and growing cost of incarceration. Think of the savings potential to the taxpayers of Colorado, not to mention the improved outcomes of the offender population The job development specialist involved in this program was very open in providing his input and expertise. The program is highly individualized, that is, it takes into consideration the specific needs of the applicant. In short, what does the client need from the program? The first step with a releasee is a mini-assessment to determine a quick appraisal of the client's needs. If a reading deficiency or some other educational need is discovered, the client is referred to an educational specialist who guides them to vocational 82

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and educational resources. This timely action is deemed crucial, and the offender can be sitting in an appropriate classroom within days. A sense of urgency is attached to the needs of the client In the words of the job developer, "These people need work, and need it right now". The client isn't "given a job", rather an appointment with an appropriate potential employer is arranged. By appropriate is meant an attempted fitment of any work experience or job training done under DOC auspices to the potential employer's needs. It is up to the offender to be selected by the employer. Some other meaningful comments provided include: 1. The program is believed to be more successful for being in an educational setting rather than a corrections institution setting. 2. The staff will attempt direct intervention with Parole Officers and halfway house Case Managers when it is deemed fitting to the situation and the client's best interests. 3. Staff feel that the offender must have a support system of some kind to turn to. 83

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4. Some temporary job companies are used with extremely good results since some of the temp companies are currently being used in a human resource mode by employers, and can generate permanent job opportunities. 5. The program deals with a wide cross section of offenders, not just the "cream of the crop". Additionally, it is felt that employers are not afraid of the releasee's past criminal behavior, their concerns are the same as for any other employee: will they report to work as agreed, on time, and do the assigned work they are being paid to do? This job development specialist related that his formula for success is primarily based on educating the employers that it can be beneficial to learn how to deal with the offender "at risk population", just as with any other such as the disabled or welfare recipients." A working relationship has been developed with some 180 employers. These relationships have been developed mainly through personal networking in the community. Attendance at job fairs and various industry meetings are a necessary 84

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element of building this network. This employment base is occupation specific and depends on a win-win relationship with the employers. There is a vision on the horizon that this writer looks forward to, if the Colorado legislature sees fit to grant funding. Relatively simple in design, it will bring together many of the fragmented players involved in the enterprise of reintegration of ex-offenders, with the major emphasis on employment assistance and job development. This is a concept repeatedly met with enthusiasm by the CJS professionals interviewed in this study who had no, or at least minimal, contacts to aid their charges find adequate employment. There is little doubt in this author's mind that it would be well used by Parole and Probation Officers, as well as Case Managers in Community Corrections. Further, such usage should have a positive effect upon the outcomes of the criminal element rejoining society. To give the reader some idea of the structure of this potential new initiative, it would combine many of the various professionals already engaged in employment issues. A central location would be developed that would include counselors, job development specialists, phone banks 85

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(potential employers always want a phone number}, copy machines, fax machines, resume preparation advice, and work shops dealing with the multitude of offender needs. These would include at least how to conduct an employment interview, fill out an application form, and how to follow up on it once submitted. Also likely candidates for inclusion are minor elements of financial aid such as bus tokens, hand tool purchasing, and the like. Such a center would also lend itself to the communication of information to potential employers. Brochures could be developed summarizing the process in detail. This explanation could include description of the "job matching" process, and that the nature of the applicant's criminal history may be revealed to a potential employer. Little known programs providing for bonding of ex-offenders, and the tax benefit of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, up to $2400 in the first year of hire of an ex-offender, could be promoted within the business community. A speaker's bureau designed to reach out to the business sector could be formed, as well as a public relations effort if desired. Certainly, communication between all the various players in this process would be enhanced. The possibilities, while not endless, certainly are significant. 86

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This writer hopes to encourage the Colorado legislation to press forward on further investigation of this proposed job development center. There is no question about the efficacy of such a program. "Employers in this study also indicated that the more information they received about the applicant, such as the type of offense and its relationship to the job, the more likely they are to consider hiring them" (Albright 1996: 133). It would take time to build up the coalition of sufficient employers willing to hire ex-offenders, but it is a fact of life that people do business with people they know. As employers gain confidence in the job developers, and get comfortable with the process, good things will happen. One thing is certain about changing the rotten outcomes reviewed in this paper, scale is important, and this requires adequate public funding. David C. Anderson, after discussing various alternative sanctions to traditional justice system practices, comes to this conclusion. "Jurisdictions won't realize the practical benefits of alternative programs with only a token commitment to them" (Anderson 1998: 159). "The (any) program can only begin to generate real savings as it grows to accommodate several hundred inmates per year, enough to warrant closing down whole wings of prisons or averting construction of new ones" (Anderson 1998:160). 87

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This investigation of the exiting process of our state's cnminal justice system has led this writer to reach several conclusions. While many of the findings project images of gloom and doom, the situation is far from hopeless. It can be made much better, and happily, processes are known to accomplish just that. As we have seen, the forecast for the state's prison population projects an increase of approximately 1400 inmates per year. Recidivism is playing a major role in this expansion, and we can expect the DOC's budget requirements to grow some thirty-five million dollars each year for the next five years. If recidivism can be significantly reduced, the rewards would be enormous. The evidence indicates that meaningful employment will reduce recidivism, but job development currently receives little attention. Part of this problem is that employment is not seen as a public safety issue, when in fact it clearly is. Awareness of this issue must be upgraded in the minds of all who deal with this population. 88

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Programs of "supportive employment", as one job development specialist termed the process, should be put into place that will serve a substantial segment of the target offender group. The scale of this effort is crucial to meaningful success in reducing the prison population. Major emphasis should be placed on outreach to the private sector for job development. Hiring additional job development specialists to focus on the necessary networking and promotion involved seems to be fully justified. Potential employers have major concerns about exposing their other employees to harm in the work place. This investigator was unable to find any study examining incidents of violence on the job by ex-offenders Two studies to examine this phenomenon seem warranted. The first might be an assessment instrument to be completed by appropriate CJS professionals An alternative one informant suggests is face to face interviews, which might prove more fruitful. The second study could be undertaken from DOC records. A review of convictions involving violence could be compiled by locale and previous record. Following this, an appropriate sample of records of incoming felons could be maintained. Such studies, if found to be negative, would have great utility in aiding job development. In the meantime, employers voicing this concern should be advised to eliminate 89

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from hiring those felons convicted of crimes involving violence, use of weapons, or sex offenses. Support in areas other than job development is also needed. Short term help with the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter is warranted. Current efforts in these areas are usually programs of either some religious organization or a foundation. They do good work, but the efforts are fragmented, little known, and serve only a few. We have a proven matrix upon which to build. But as has been seen, only a small percentage of this populace is being sufficiently served. The creation of a new initiative incorporating all that is known and is needed should, in this writer's view, be formed in Denver as promptly as possible. A training program for employer front line supervisors should be incorporated. Ultimately, once the program is fully developed and proven, ventures of the same sort could be added to serve other parts of the state. This is an ambitious agenda, but it seems to this writer that all of the issues discussed fall in the domain of public policy. In order to attain the 90

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scale needed to make a real impact on the problems, public funding is necessary. This program has the potential to be cost effective, for it would not take many successes to pay for the whole initiative. Not only that, but the benefit in terms of cost avoidance could be huge. Issues of public safety and the parsimonious use of the state's tax dollars are clearly appropriate for the state's administration and legislature to address. These are matters that lend themselves to social planning. With the current demand for workers in the Denver area, the time to strike is now. This author sincerely hopes that this paper encourages the reader to support such an initiative, for the impact upon our society could be tremendous. 91

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APPENDIX A A NOTE ON METHODS These remarks might be properly entitled "Confessions of a Rehabilitated Quantitative Aficionado", for at the beginning of this investigation this author was still influenced strongly by documentation of percentages of this, and graphs of that. So commonplace in our life experience are facts on social issues thus presented that many are conditioned to look for such documentation in studies concerning them. This may be particularly true of legislative bodies that fund social programs. Legislatures, so it is said, want to see the "numbers". Accordingly, this writer felt it necessary to present quantitative data in the documentation of the relationship between recidivism and employment. However, many matters of crucial importance to our society do not lend themselves to "numbers". Precise measurement of hundreds of factors affecting human well being simply cannot be made. We can measure a day's temperature, and note the direction and strength of winds, with relative 92

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precision, the first in degrees of temperature and the second in terms of velocity. But these precise measurements fail to tell the complete story. The sky may be sunny, partly cloudy, or overcast, terms of much less preciseness. Also, the experience of a "nice day" is dependent on much, much more in the human experience. The loss of a loved one on the fairest of days proves to be devastating. On the other hand, the dreariest of winter days can be transformed into wonderland by winning the State's lottery. So qualitative measurements do count, and they count a great deal. There are many ways to view the world, and this view is dictated largely by the subjective concept of the beholders. Readers should always take this into consideration when examining the writings of others, including this one. Still, if enough people familiar with a social scene report a similar opinion, then those of us not as close to the situation must lend credence to the redundancy of their collective view. The author's quest in the beginning was simply to seek a manner in which to bring anthropological thinking to bear on some then undetermined aspect of criminal activity. What emerged was this investigation of the relationship between recidivism and meaningful employment. Or, perhaps more 93

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accurately, between recidivism and unemployment. During this investigation, this writer purposely attempted to avoid the study of current theories in Criminal Justice, so as to better maintain the anthropological viewpoint. Regardless of this intent, of necessity, the literature review incorporated a large body of work in criminal justice studies. This endeavor came into focus largely because of the study by Doctors Mary Mande and Kim English quoted herein. This writer's life work has involved years of selling to businessmen, and he has found them to be surprisingly altruistic, regardless of how they might have been painted in the past. They too have concerns about the quality of the society in which they and their loved ones live, and they too frequently "make a difference" in the lives they touch. If Mande and English were correct in their findings of the role that employment plays in avoiding recidivism, then perhaps this was an area that might lend itself to the skills this author developed through years of selling in combination with his newly acquired anthropological knowledge. When you spend over forty years selling, you learn how to get appointments with people, how to interview them, and how to network through them. But anthropologists know this too, and call it snowballing. 94

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i Sheldon Goldenberg describes it as; "In this method, the investigator usually begins with one or more contacts within a given population and asks those subjects to nominate others (Goldenberg 1992: 163). While this method has its shortcomings, as Goldenberg also points out, it lent itself to this study, and was the principle method of investigation. This report contains findings based largely on comments obtained from professionals in the Colorado Criminal Justice System. Among the informants were: one DOC educational specialist, four DOC officials, one Parole Officer, two Parole Supervisors, a Parole Manager, seven Case Managers in Community Corrections and Denver Drug Court, four job development specialists, three members of Colorado's Job Service, two ISP officers, three halfway house directors, and the Denver Director of Community Corrections. The outcome of these interviews is summarized in this paper. The reader would be pleased, and greatly reassured about the criminal justice system in Colorado, if they could have accompanied the author during this process. Colorado's citizens are well served by this group. They proved to be dedicated, well educated, and caring professionals. In addition to the CJS members, several private sector 95

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participants provided information. Included in this group were three human relations specialists. This writer would be remiss if he did not express his sincere thanks to the various informants who participated in this project. All took time from busy schedules to acquaint this author with the intricacies of the system and of the private business outlook. While all contributed greatly, this writer feels that it is to those contributors best interests that they remain anonymous. There are but two exceptions. A special heartfelt thanks must be extended to Mr. Larry Linke, Program Manager of the U.S. Department of Justice's National Information Center in Longmont, Colorado. Mr. Linke took a personal interest in this project, and his contribution was extensive. First, he always made time to consult with and advise this writer. Second, through the resources of the NIC library, he helped immeasurably in the literature search quoted herein. And third, he provided names to key informants. and in some cases introductions, that yielded much of the information reported in this study. 96

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The other exception who must be acknowledged is Barbara, this author's loving wife of over forty years. It was her suggestion that originally encouraged this investigator to begin the formal study of anthropology that ultimately resulted in this study. These efforts, as anyone who has been through such an endeavor, are extremely time consuming; and her patience throughout was amazing. Without her support, this study, and its related academic effort, could not have been accomplished. For this, as well as for her many other enrichments to his life, this writer thanks her profusely. It is hoped that the reader of this paper has gained insight into this social issue. Certainly those informants mentioned above attempted to help this writer gain a clear vision of the subject investigated. A copy of the field notes accumulated during the interviews was, in most cases, provided to the interviewee to review for accuracy. Necessary changes and modifications were made where requested by the informant. Still, mistakes may have been made, and, if so, they are unquestionably the fault of the author. 97

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Albright, Shelley and Deng 1996 Employer Attitudes toward Hiring Ex-offenders. The Prison Journal (The Pennsylvania Prison Society) 76 (2): 118-137. Anderson, David C. 1998 Sensible Justice: Alternatives to Prison. New York: The New Press. Bolles, Richard Nelson 1999 The 1999 What Color Is Your Parachute? Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. Bureau of Justice Statistics 1989 Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983, Briefing Sheet. Washington, D.C.: The Sentencing Project. Colorado Department of Corrections 1992 Statistical Report for the Fiscal Year 1992. Co: Department of Corrections. 1993 Statistical Report for the Fiscal Year 1993. Co: Department of Corrections. 1994 Statistical Report for the' Fiscal Year 1994. Co: Department of Corrections. 1995 Statistical Report for the Fiscal Year 1995. Co: Department of Corrections. 98

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Colorado Department of Corrections (continued) 1996 Statistical Report for the Fiscal Year 1996. Co: Department of Corrections. 1997 Statistical Report for the Fiscal Year -1997. Co: Department of Correctional Services, State of New York. Department of Correctional Services 1988 Releases: Five Year Post Release Follow-up. Albany: State of New York, Department of Correctional Services. Danziger, Steven R, ed. 1996 The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission. New York: HarperPerennial Publishers, Inc. English, Kim and Mary J. Mande 1991 Community Corrections in Colorado: Why Do Some Clients Succeed and Others Fail? Co: Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Public Safety. Fabela, Tony 1996 Recidivism as a Performance Measure: The Record So Far. TX: Criminal Justice Policy Council, State of Texas. Fleisher, Mark S. 1995 Beggars & Thieves: Lives of Urban Street Criminals. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press. Goldenberg, Sheldon 1992 Thinking Methodologically. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 99

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Hannerz, Ulf 1980 Exploring the City. New York: Columbia University Press. Harer, Miles D. 1994 Recidivism among Federal Prison Releasees in 1987: A Preliminary Report. Washington, D.C.: Federal Bureau of Prisons, Office of Research and Evaluation Klein, Stephen P. and Michael N. Caggiano 1986 The Prevalence, Predictability, and Policy Implications of Recidivism Santa Monica, California: The Rand Corporation. Liebow, Elliot 1967 Tally's Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men". Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company. Macleod, Jay 1995 Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations & Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Pappas, Gregory 1989 The Magic City: Unemployment in a Working-Class Community. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Pate, Anthony M., and Edwin E. Hamilton. 1992 Formal and Informal Deterrents to Domestic Violence: The Dade County Spouse Assault Experiment. American Sociological Review 57: 691-697. 100

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Peterson, Wallace C. 1995 Government Intervention Can Foster Full Employment. In Work: Opposing Viewpoints. Scott Varbour, ed. San Diego: Greenhaven Press. Inc. Ryan, William 1976 Blaming the Victim. New York: Vintage Books. Sanders, Barry 1994 A is for Ox. New York: Pantheon Books. Schorr, Lisbeth B. 1989 Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage. New York: Anchor Books Thompson, John B. 1990 Ideology and Modem Culture. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Toborg, Mary A., et. al. 1977 The Transition from Prison to Employment: An Assessment of Community-Based Assistance Programs Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice Law Enforcement Assistance Administration National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Turner, Victor 197 4 Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. 101