The role of employment/training and its relationship to crime-free living through the voices of former Australian inmates

Year: 2016

Author: J-f, J-f, Gillies, Robyn, Carroll, Annemaree, Swabey, Karen, Pullen, Darren

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This study explores employment/training experiences of adult Australian ex-inmates living crime-free. Little is known in terms of how employment/training comes to assist ex-inmates to live crime-free, and equally, what role employment/training had played in the lives of ex-inmates prior to incarceration and during incarceration. Integrating both qualitative and quantitative methods, employment/training was measured at pre-incarceration, during incarceration and post-incarceration, to explore its relationship with crime-free living. All participants (n=20) reported having employment prior to incarceration, but only a quarter reported that it was stable and secure. Participants also reported having ad hoc jobs during incarceration with less than one-fifth having post-prison employment. However, for a small group of participants who persisted with employment/training, they reported increased self-esteem. They also reported that employment/training was an informal social control alongside inherent social incentives of being a productive citizen. Therefore, employment can perhaps be a notable catalyst for successful transition/reintegration for those ex-inmates who actively seek out and persist with it. Importantly, over half of the participants reported that employment was not related to recidivism and/or in safeguarding them from re-offending or in living crime-free.