After Lockdown: Life for the Formerly Incarcerated will examine hurdles that many, if not most, people face once they are released from North Carolina jails and prisons. The three-part series includes reporting on how societal and racial bias prevents people with criminal records from education, jobs, housing and even parental rights, and what can be done to change the situation. Reporters will talk to formerly incarcerated people, lawmakers, educators, activists and job preparation advocates to learn what works and the societal cost when people who have few options to contribute to society re-offend.
The project breaks new ground by detailing the depth of racial bias against formerly incarcerated adults who struggle to re-integrate into society. The subject is especially important in the African American community due to the disproportionate incarceration rates as well as inequality in economic mobility linked to disparities in housing security and education — the keys to success in a capitalist society. In addition to serial reporting for our print edition and website, the project includes a limited podcast series as well as a mini-documentary video. Social media and newsletters will be used to generate awareness of the series and engage new audiences with a call to action via a virtual town hall meeting with stakeholders, the formerly incarcerated and activists.