Profiling, as Merriam-Webster defines it, is “the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior”. Too many police and other members of the criminal justice system engage in what is called racial profiling against young African-American men every day in the U.S. The bad part is that while law enforcement officials are staring so hard at a peaceful crew of black guys anxiously trying to find something to charge them with, a store across town could be getting robbed. My point is that the entire community loses when the cops focus their attention in only one direction.
Many times after a prisoner is released, their status seems as if he or she is not really a citizen. All they really want to do after serving so much time is to start their lives over, but even after paying their debt to society it seems as if they will never be a productive part of it again, especially if they are from low-income families and communities. One of the continuing “invisible punishments” is that they can’t get public housing. It’s hard enough for a man to get this type of assistance anyway, but the fact that they have been convicted of a crime will take away this option completely.
Not only will their living situation be very hard to adjust to when they are released, but it’s heartbreaking that they may be denied for student loans. How are they supposed to move on with their lives if they can’t get an education that will lead to a better career? This is why so many ex-cons go back to doing what they were doing before they got locked up; they can’t really see any other options. The worst ongoing post-prison penalty, though, is that they will probably lose their right to vote depending on the crime. To have your voice cut off from choosing who will be in your own government I imagine is devastating, especially if the person was incarcerated unjustly in the first place.
Flavin, J., & Barak, G. (2010). Class, Race, Gender, and Crime: The Social Realities of Justice in America. Pages 222-226. Roman and Littlefield Publishing Group.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Profiling Definition. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/profiling.