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The Invisible Job Seeker: The Absence of Ex-Offenders in Discussions of Diversity Management

Author: BRANDI BLESSETT and MARIE PRYOR
Published in PAQ, Vol. 37 No. 3

In the literature dealing with diversity in employment there is a substantial amount of research conducted to advocate for a diverse workforce. Many scholars and manuals cite the importance of hiring those of different racial groups, genders, ages, religions, sexual orientation, military status and even those with disabilities; however, there is no mention or advocacy for the hiring of ex-offenders. Data has shown that at least 90 percent of those who are incarcerated will one day be released. Therefore, this papers stands to voice the concerns of this invisible population that is anything but invisible. This theoretical paper is designed to shed light on the reasons why ex-offenders are left out of workplace diversity literature; to explicate the consequences of such exclusion; as well as to highlight the benefits that can be attained by diversity management geared toward the inclusion of ex-offenders. Combining criminal justice and public administrative disciplines, this paper will also serve to make policymakers and scholars more aware of this issue and suggest ways that the inclusion of this population can be achieved both theoretically and in practice.

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