Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Finding Work: A Smartphone Study of Job Searching, Social Contacts, and Wellbeing after Prison

Amount in Stock

"The immediate months after prison are a critical transition period, which can determine future trajectories of successful reintegration or recidivism. Finding employment after prison is considered a key, if not the most important, condition to prevent recidivism; however, individuals face numerous obstacles to finding work. Although many of these barriers have been documented, methodological difficulties prevent a thorough understanding of how they impact the actual job searching and working experiences of individuals at reentry" (p. iii). The author explains how she used smartphones to address this gap in the knowledge. This document is comprised of six chapters: introduction; pounding the pavement-searching and working after prison; whether going it alone-social connectivity and finding work after prison; job search and emotional wellbeing at reentry; utilizing smartphones to study disadvantaged and hard-to-reach groups; and conclusions. "Analyses of detailed smartphone measures reveal a reentry period characterized by very short-term, irregular, and poor-quality work ... In contrast to prevailing notions in reentry scholarship, individuals are not social isolates or deeply distraught about their job searches; rather, they are highly connected to others and feel happier while searching for work. These results indicate that the low employment rates of reentering individuals are not due to person-specific deficiencies of low social connectivity and poor emotional wellbeing. Reentering individuals, however, remain deeply disadvantaged in the labor market, where they compete for work within a structure of deteriorated opportunities for low-skill, urban, and minority jobseekers more generally. Relegated to the lowest rungs of the market, reentering individuals obtain jobs that are very sporadic and precarious. These findings challenge the established idea that finding suitable employment in today’s labor market is an attainable goal for reentering individuals" (p. iii).