5 Things We Do To People Re-Entering Society After Prison That Are Just Plain Wrong

1. Released With Little to No Support

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Many people are lucky to leave with just enough money to get them home, others don’t even have that much. When Glenn Ford was exonerated in 2014, he left prison with a $20 gift certificate that he used to purchase one meal. -Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (4:30)

2. Probation & Parole Services

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“2/3 of parolees who go back to prison, not due to a new crime, but because of parole violations.” -Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (9:20)

Many people get sent back to jail because they cannot schedule, attend, or afford their probation/parole services. In the state of Pennsylvania, just the entry into the probation/parole program is $60. – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (11:10)

3. Banned from Government and Public Services

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Some public housing units do not allow ex-prisoners to live, or even to visit relatives, there. -Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (5:30)

Many people convicted of felonies are denied access to government food benefits. -Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (5:20)

Sometimes you can be kept from getting a drivers license or voting. -Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (6:35)

4. Job Restrictions

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Job applications have a question that says “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” and you must check off ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Once employers see that the ‘yes’ box is checked, they may throw out the application and deny the applicant an interview. -Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (7:26)

“It makes you a little uncomfortable. You get anxiety when you reach that box. It’s like ‘Wow, um, how are they going to judge me, you know, knowing that I committed this crime? How are they going to feel about this?'”- Carl Lynch, Job Seeker from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (7:38)

Many jobs are completely off-limits to people who have been convicted of felonies, for example “…a nurse; a septic tank cleaner; and in Mississippi, an alligator rancher” -Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (7:00)

5. Societal Judgement

“I’m most worried about being judged for who I used to be. I’m not that same person… I am no longer that person…” -Bilal Chatman on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (15:45)

“People are judgmental. People that don’t know, you know? I don’t want anyone to look at me as the ex-con. I want them to look at me as the person I am today.” Bilal Chatman on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-Entry (16:13)

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Works Cited

Oliver, J. (Writer), & Hosickson, J. (Director). (2015). Prisoner Re-Entry [Television series episode] In T. Carvell (Executive Producer), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. New York City, NY: HBO.

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