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Prisoner Reentry at Work: Adding Business to the Mix

Melvin Delgado
Prisoner Reentry at Work: Adding Business to the Mix
ISBN: 978-1-58826-818-1
2012/241 pages/LC: 2012000001
"I highly recommend this book.... Reentry practitioners, policymakers and appointed officials would greatly benefit from the information and arguments that show there can be a better way to advance the goal of successful reentry."—Stan Davis, Corrections Today

"Delgado has done a service to the reentry movement by putting the spotlight on social enterprises and the role they play in a community reentry ecology."—Jesse Jannetta, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

"Excellent.... the most comprehensive and up-to-date book available on the employment of former prisoners. Delgado makes a major contribution to the study of how to help people stay out of prison."—Stephen C. Richards, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

"The time is past due for a book of this nature.... Delgado goes beyond traditional policy and program responses for exoffender reentry to propose a unique social enterprise approach."—Kristin M. Ferguson-Colvin, Hunter College


Convicted offenders need jobs when they leave prison—but few people want to hire them. Spotlighting this thorny issue, Melvin Delgado explores the potential role of business enterprises in providing work to former prisoners and helping them to reconnect with their home communities.

Delgado documents the unconventional approaches of nonprofit businesses that deliberately and exclusively hire former inmates. He finds that employers can play a multifaceted role in helping ex-convicts to face life "on the outside": beyond wages, for example, they may offer skill training, mentoring, and social support. As he evaluates the successes and failures reflected in his case studies, he provides a window on the complex interplay of social, economic, and institutional factors that can encourage, or prevent, a successful reentry process.


Melvin Delgado is professor of social work at Boston University.


  • Returning Ex-Offenders to Society.
  • Community Reentry.
  • Employment Issues.
  • Homeboy/Homegirl Industries.
  • The Delancey Street Foundation.
  • Implications for Theory, Policy, and Practice.
  • Further Challenges.