Volume 87, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816


Knowledge about the employment history of prisoners prior to incarceration is lacking. Such knowledge is essential in order to establish if and to what extent incarceration worsens employment. In addition, such insights can direct policy on the (re)integration of ex-prisoners into the labour market. In this study we describe the employment history of prisoners prior to incarceration (n = 1909) and compare it to the employment history of the general population (n = 2078). The results indicate that prisoners occupy a marginal position. Starting with a low educational level, their subsequent employment career is characterized by long periods of unemployment, ‘off the books’ employment, dismissals and job shifts. Eventually, this results in a weak labour market position while entering prison. These findings stress the necessity of including pre-detention employment information in effect studies. Also, they point at the potential role of penitentiaries in gathering information about employment history and handing job assistance to prisoners.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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