Season 1, Episode 38
Barred from the Workforce: The Hidden Side of Life After Incarceration

December 5, 2021

Listen Now

Episode Description

You want to think of the workplace as a level playing field, where anyone with grit, determination, and an honest desire to work can succeed. But this is not always the reality, especially if you’re one of the 80 million Americans with some sort of a criminal record. For these people, and for the 1 in 2 Americans who love them, the world of work can come to resemble an impossible labyrinth, filled with dead ends, locked doors, and shortcuts back to prison. Once your life has been touched by incarceration, even when you’re free again, you’re never truly free.

These are the research findings of our guest, Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller, who is a sociologist at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Miller’s 15-year study of people leaving the prison system found that those who want most to participate in the working economy are often hampered by policies that restrict their movements, keep them from finding housing and employment, and penalize any family and friends who might help them. Dr. Miller’s new book is Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration.

Podcast Episode originally hosted here by the Theology of Work.