BY: FRANCE COSTREL
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most famous values in the United States Declaration of Independence, listed among the “unalienable rights” of man. But for women coming out of prison, obstacles impede them from exercising those rights, especially for getting a job and reentering society successfully. If a glass ceiling already exists for women, it seems to be even lower for women formerly incarcerated.
Advocates for those women are trying to make politicians aware of many employers’ discriminatory practices. These associations are trying to reduce the unemployment rate among former female prisoners in New York. The task has become increasingly strenuous as the current economic crisis continues. Thirty thousand women are currently under custody of the New York State or City criminal justice systems, and almost 2,000 were released last year. The state is now facing a challenge as women have to reenter and integrate themselves into a tight labor market where employers may be reluctant to hire women with criminal records.