Women ex-convicts face tough challenge finding jobs

Experts described how to help female ex-convicts re-enter society in Newark Friday, something about 1,000 women deal with each year in New Jersey. One of those women, Shamine McDowell, a 38-year-old

News 12 Staff

Mar 13, 2009, 9:16 PM

Updated 5,607 days ago

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Experts described how to help female ex-convicts re-enter society in Newark Friday, something about 1,000 women deal with each year in New Jersey.
One of those women, Shamine McDowell, a 38-year-old single mom and college student, says the biggest challenge is trying to get a job after prison, but she tells ex-offenders not to lie about their past.
"It's best to be up front," she says. "You may get a lot of no's, but eventually a door will open."
McDowell is at Essex County College pursuing a degree in business administration, and says she hopes to open a non-profit agency targeting young, at-risk women.
"To help them, and let them know not to go down the path that I went down," she says will be the agency's mission.
McDowell, an admitted former drug addict, spent four years behind bars after 13 arrests.
"Shoplifting, theft, you know, I did whatever I had to do to support my habit," she says.
A poor economy makes jobs scarcer for women like McDowell. Hard figures don't exist, but a State Parole Board official estimates the unemployment rate among parolees is more than 40 percent.
"When the economy is booming, it's hard, so now that the economy has gone on a downslide, it's even tougher," McDowell says.


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