Pretoria, South Africa – (African Boulevard News) – Ex-convicts in South Africa are facing joblessness, as a result of social stigma and discrimination in the job market. According to estimates, between 80% to 94% of released prisoners reoffend, a trend which is attributed to their inability to secure gainful employment after serving their sentences.
The plight of ex-convicts was highlighted in a recent report by the South African Institute of Race Relations, which showed that they were more likely to face unemployment, poverty, and marginalization than any other group in society.
The report also noted that ex-convicts who were able to secure employment, often did so through informal channels, such as family and friends, rather than formal recruitment processes.
This situation has been blamed on the reluctance of employers to hire ex-convicts, who are perceived as a risk to their businesses, and are often viewed as less reliable, trustworthy, and honest than other job applicants.
Ntuthu Ntshingila, a social worker at a Johannesburg prison, says the lack of opportunities for ex-convicts is a major cause of recidivism. “When a person leaves prison, they need to reintegrate into society, which includes finding employment and building a stable life. But if they can’t find a job, they often resort to crime to make ends meet, which lands them back in prison,” she said.
The report suggests that one solution to this problem is for the government to create policies that incentivize employers to hire ex-convicts. This could include tax breaks, training and support programs, and initiatives to change public perceptions about ex-convicts.
“The government needs to take action to address this issue, by working with employers and organizations to create opportunities for ex-convicts, and by changing the negative attitudes towards them in society,” said Ntshingila.
The report also recommends that the criminal justice system be reformed to focus more on rehabilitation and reintegration, rather than just punishment and imprisonment.
In conclusion, the job market in South Africa remains a difficult terrain for ex-convicts. The stigma associated with their criminal past, coupled with the reluctance of employers to hire them, has resulted in many struggling to reintegrate into society, find gainful employment, and build stable lives. As such, there is a need for concerted efforts by the government, employers, and society as a whole, to change the narrative and provide these individuals with a second chance to contribute meaningfully to the country’s socio-economic development.