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Barrier Recognition and Reaction | Origin: CS109

This is a general discussion forum for the following learning topic:

Empowering Students with an Arrest or Conviction --> Barrier Recognition and Reaction

Post what you've learned about this topic and how you intend to apply it. Feel free to post questions and comments too.

The US holds a high number of incarcerated people. These students sometimes are given unfair treatment when it comes to education and employment opportutnies. I learned different terms with probation and conviction. I also enjoyed the definition of looking glass theory and the importance as a counselor to help the client view themselves from a positive, accurate, light. 

Jacob: I also benefited from the Looking Glass Theory definition. From a broad conceptual standpoint, I am certainly aware that folks put pressure on themselves based on how they think others view them. However, this specific term and definition is approachable, and I plan to use it with students. I also really like the 2 resources from Module 1 - the Life Planning & Resolve Worksheet and the Professional Skills Analysis Worksheet. Both offer simple, tangible ways for students to reflect, and self-reflection, as the module taught overall, is key!

Really interesting statics and information.  Why are so many people incarcerated? 


I plan to continue to assist my students here at the South Idaho Correctional Institution in development of a "Branding Statement," which I've called an "Elevator Speech" in the past.

Here in Idaho, by the way, a significant number of our adult offenders have committed crimes that were tied to suibstance abuse.  We've also seen an increase in the number of females coming into our system; this is a nation-wide trend.


--Mary Ellen Nourse, Ed.D.
Instructor, South Idaho Correctional Institution



Reply to Barbara Martin's post:

Lots of reasons, some come down to how society chooses to deal with people with mental health problems. 

Another factor for this particular setting is a phenomenon that many refer to as a school-to-prison pipeline that particularly impacts disadvantaged groups in society.  We can argue that it doesn’t exist, but the statistics show that incarceration is significantly skewed for people of color.

Vera Institute of Justice - Divided Justice

Education Week - 5 Facts Everyone Needs to Know About the School-to-Prison Pipeline:,of%20the%20stick%20as%20far%20as...%20More%20


I learned that having students realize the employment barriors that they may have before sending out their resume is key to them being able to find work.


Prior to this session I have always given each one of my students my undivided attention and encouragement no matter what their situation was/is.  I do not allow barriers to hold me back from assisting my student nor do I want them to allow barriers to hold them back from their amazing future.  Each student just like each of us have had experiences that are good/bad but the most important thing is to take a step forward each and everyday we can.  Getting to know your student genuinely and listening is key to any successful Student/Career Advisor relationship.  

I learned to be more creative when giving a description of your job duties to deter an employer from focusing on the student's arrest or conviction

It benefits not only the student but everyone involved including the community when all student, including those with criminal records, gain employment.

Good information. I appreciate this concept of a 'Branding Statement'. This is definitely needed to focus on the positives while highlighting a clear objective.

I too liked the idea of a "Branding Statement" which is a similar concept to the "Elevator Speach". I to offer the Professonal Skils Ananylsis Worksheet to graduates. 

There is a lid for every pot

As an educator it is your duty to empower and reasure students that they have to make the right chioces and right decisions in life and one wrong decision can be a lifelong struggle of proving yourself and being rejected from jobs because of having a conviction and the type of conviction.


25% of the US Population are affected by incarceration

The statistics are interesting - I wasn't aware. The two worksheets are valuable.  All of my students are incarcerated currently, so much of this information I was aware of - I'm looking for how I can improve my career counseling with these individuals. 

With a higher incarceration rate in the US and with high possibility of having students who have been in the hands of the law, institutions have to offer support and ensure that they have the fair chance on job opportunities after graduation. Another thing is The looking glass theory, people tend to be hard on themselves because of how they think others view them. Giving an example of those who have been formerly incarcerated they can have low self esteem thinking that people might be viewing them as untrustworthy or those  looking for an easy way out. Also, educators must teach their students that what they post online is permanent and employees are allowed to do a background check before they hire to know who you really are. So, it's very important to be careful of what you put online because they can get a wrong idea of who you are.

Amazing that at only 4% of world population, 25% of those incarcerated are in The United States.  

Having students create a branding statement is an important exercise.

This allows the student to see and hear a positive description of who they are.

This is important because in many cases, a positive description of who they are has not been experienced by a person with arrests or challenges.

It can inspire a habit of positive thoughts and feelings about themselves that may in turn carry them to higher levels of confidence even in the face of their adversity.

I appreciated that this first section discussed the extra time it takes to work with and support or special population of students.  They deserve to have our investment of time when they have invested the time into our university.  I appreciate the breakdown and am interested to learn the next steps.

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