Second chance: the paradox of felony convictions
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Every year hundreds of thousands of individuals with felony convictions are released into the community with the expectation that those re-entering society will be “successful” upon re-entry. Society tells persons with criminal backgrounds (PWCB) they have a “second chance” upon release, yet we are reluctant to provide the resources necessary to make this happen. Stigma is frequently identified as a potential obstacle to reentry, (DeFina, & Hannon, 20109; Shivy et al., 2007; Travis et al., 2001); however, research involving stigma surrounding conviction and the career development of individuals with felony convictions is lacking. Using Psychology of Working Theory as a framework, interviews with 14 males with felonies were examined to identify how the stigma associated with felony convictions has affected their work volition and career trajectory, including the potential barriers they experience to employment. Participants reported receiving a felony conviction before age 24 and experienced post-conviction obstacles, specifically employment/job-related obstacles. Participants discussed experiencing stigma related to their felony convictions and described strategies employed to mitigate that stigma. Participants’ work history involved largely manual labor work and they discussed having career aspirations despite their felony conviction. Implications for counseling, future research and limitations are discussed.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Manuscript -- Appendix A. Semi-structured Interview Protocol -- Appendix B. Interview Feedback Form -- Appendix C. Demographic Form -- Appendix D. Recruitment Script -- Appendix E. Consent for Participation in a Research Study -- Appendix F. Psychology of Working Theory Constructs of Interest
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)