Collateral effects of incarceration and navigation of the obstacles to employment of ex-convicts: a case of Kakamega county
Offenders discharged from correctional institutions are confronted by social, economic and individual difficulties that tend to become barriers to crime free lifestyle. Some of these difficulties are as a result of the outcomes of imprisonment and the problem of transitioning back into the community worsened by their inability to join job market due to requirements of certificate of good conduct, poor skills, and drug addiction among others. It is along this background that this study under the guidance of social justice theory examined ex-offenders’ perceptions about Kenya’s job reentry initiatives. To achieve this, the research adopted descriptive survey research design. A Snowballing sampling method was used to select 55 ex-convicts who had transitioned back into Kakamega County, Kenya. The main instrument used for this study was a single questionnaire which included questions about the participants’ demographic characteristics, incarceration history, employment, and perceptions about prerelease preparation, aftercare services and effect of civil disabilities (certificate of good conduct) on their employment. Responses to interview questions were coded in Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and analyzed using Chi-Square at α = 0.05 level of significance for hypothesis testing. Findings showed that the programs have a dismal record of jointly improving employment outcomes and of lowering recidivism probabilities among the individuals who participate in them. Hypothesis testing concluded that there is significant relationship between perceived outcomes of Kenya reentry initiatives by exconvicts and the years spent in prison. In fact, 38.8% explained the difference in perception (x2 = 16.818, df. 8; α < 0.05). Level of education explained 22.6% of the difference in perception about reentry programs, though statistically this was not sufficient to reject null hypothesis (x2 = 8.709, df. 8; α < 0.05). Level of education had only 1.1% influence on perception about Certificate of good conduct as a barrier to employment, statistically there was no significant relationship between these two variables (x2 = 1.072 df. 8 ; α < 0.05).