WORK AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR FORMERLY INCARCERATED INDIVIDUALS
More than half a million people are released each year from American prisons. In 2017, for example, 626,019 people were released. Formerly incarcerated individuals face one of the most challenging economic, social and cultural environments upon reentry. Having a criminal record, which can result from relatively small infractions, can make it difficult to find a job. Socially they are shunned because they are perceived to be bad people undeserving of help and they often lack the social capital that could provide support. The WOFII project is thus aimed at research that investigates the manner in which technology can support wellbeing of the formerly incarcerated.
Digital literacy of FII
Incarcerated people often lose access to digital technology. Phones are generally prohibited in prison. Computer labs are, for the most part, not accessible to inmates unless accompanied by an instructor. Depending on the length of their sentence these people could come out of prison with little if any understanding of technology.
This project explores the possibility of using Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) as a digital literacy tool. We analyze multiple computer, information and digital literacy frameworks to determine the types of skills that FIIs could learn while completing tasks. AMT could be an effective tool to learn digital skills because it has the built-in incentive of earning some income for people who have few work options.
fii and wellbeing
Returning citizens face several challenges, such as finding a job once they leave prison. However, while digital technology can help them find relevant information, resources, and jobs, many have poor digital literacy, which can be related to cost and access. In an effort to investigate how access to and use of digital technologies influences lives and job searches, this investigation presents the findings from semi-structured interviews with FIIs in the Central New York region. Based on our findings, we provide a conceptual framework that discusses factors – societal assumptions regarding digital technology, the personal goals of FIIs, and institutional constraints – that influence lives upon their return to society.