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Is finding a job a realistic goal for former prisoners?

Labour market reintegration: what is working and what could be done better? These questions were at the centre of Dutch BNR Nieuwsradio's podcast ‘Werkverkenners’. The podcast makers interviewed Anke Ramakers, Assistant Professor of Criminology at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, for answers to those questions.

It is common practice to address several basic conditions: housing, income, healthcare, proof of identity, debts, and social network soon after a person enters a detention facility. It is difficult to work towards reintegration during (mostly short) detentions or to start a trajectory afterwards. Having a steady job plays an important role in preventing someone from reoffending. It provides an income, daytime activities, structure, and social bonds. One year after release, however, only one in five former prisoners has a (permanent) job. During the podcast, Ramakers discusses several studies that provide explanations for this low participation; are these individuals not allowed, able or willing to work? Finding a job or going back to work is not a realistic goal for a large number of prisoners and expectations need to be adjusted. In the podcast, Ramakers provides several suggestions to address the issue based on recent research on the role of stigma, the Certificate of Good Conduct (VOG) and welfare benefits.

Interested in finding out more?

Listen to the entire episode of Werkverkenners podcast (in Dutch).

Anke Ramakers' research interests focus on labour market reintegration of former prisoners. For her research, she follows groups of persons who have come into contact with the legal system for an extended period of time. This enables her to observe any changes that may have occurred as a result of detention or interventions. 

Image by Andrea Leon via Unsplash

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