From Ex-Offender to New Contributor: An Examination of How a Community-Based Reentry Program Addresses Racial Barriers to Employment
In this chapter, the authors critically examine how community-based reentry program instructors frame their messages concerning opportunities and structural barriers to employment to formerly incarcerated African American and Latino/a men and women. This ethnographic study consisted of 8 weeks of observational field research in a reentry program jointly run by law enforcement and a historic civil rights nonprofit in South Los Angeles, California, in the USA. The paid and volunteer instructors, who were also African American and Latino/a, acknowledged the existence of structural barriers to employment, yet constructed the participant self-transforming individuals who must pursue legitimate employment with a colorblind lens. The findings contribute to a richer understanding of how the hybridization of the reentry enterprise addresses structural barriers to postrelease employment.
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