ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



This paper was prepared at the request of Legal Action of Wisconsin and the Private Industry Council of Milwaukee County to assess the legal and employment needs of prisoners released from Wisconsin correctional facilities. Released prisoners are among the most difficult populations to serve and least likely to be successfully engaged in sustained employment due to persistent legal problems, low education attainment levels, high recidivism rates, and driver’s license suspension and revocation problems. The stigma of being an ex-inmate alone and the limitations it places on those released and expected to become gainfully employed are compounded by further legal sanctions placed on those who have spent time in correctional facilities. Some ex-offenders may not be eligible at all for subsidized public housing, while others are to share their criminal records with potential Section 8 landlords. Education barriers have been instituted for the population of felons with drug-related convictions which prevent them from obtaining Pell grants to attend vocational education classes, college, and other post-secondary education programs. Income maintenance barriers are most severe for those with drug convictions, making them ineligible for food stamps or TANF services.