Date of Conferral

2020

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Greg Murphy

Abstract

Research has shown that a felony conviction record negatively impacts an individual’s employment prospects. Although stable employment has been shown to reduce recidivism, the stigma associated with being labeled a felon is a significant barrier to employment for this population. This phenomenological study, guided by Roy’s adaptation model, labeling theory, and social identity theory, explored the lived experiences of individuals with a felony conviction in seeking and obtaining employment postconviction. Participants were recruited from the Adult Probation offices of the Community Supervision and Corrections Department of Brazoria County near Houston, Texas. Six adult males who were currently on adult community supervision (probation) and who identified as felons were interviewed using a semistructured format. Four themes emerged from the data: employment challenges, mental frustrations, lack of effective resources, and motivations to prevent reoffending. Participants offered recommendations regarding employment regulations that would aid in reducing recidivism. In particular, they suggested that legislators pass a bill supporting second-chance hiring and adopt a policy equivalent to affirmative action to assist this disadvantaged group in obtaining employment and adequate housing. By highlighting the challenges experienced by ex-offenders in seeking employment and the benefits of employment for this population, this study has the potential to decrease social stigmatization of ex-offenders and promote the self-worth of these individuals.

Available for download on Friday, April 09, 2021

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