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Small study points to problems with local prison re-entry

Ann Thompson

A Cincinnati State instructor is giving voice to the post-prison experiences of African Americans.

Ricardo Smith interviewed 10 recently released ex-cons in Hamilton and Butler Counties. In his dissertation for The Union Institute & University, he said not only do background checks showing felonies make it hard to find a job, but so do societal changes.

In one case a felon had been in prison so long he couldn't adjust to the technology the job required. That, on top of a background check showing a felony, made it very hard. In another case somebody was told he couldn't vote, when he could as long as he had an address. Smith wants lawmakers to know the difficulties recently released these people are having so recidivism can decrease.

Smith, a Cincinnati State educator and consultant, admits this is a very small sampling and more research is needed. Smith says this "no way out" has become a type of social incarceration.