Formerly incarcerated individuals—or returning citizens—struggle to find work and reintegrate due to a lack of digital literacy, according to a recently published article by U-M researchers. “For some returning citizens, there’s a ‘Rip Van Winkle effect’ when they are offered digital technology upon reentry,” said Kentaro Toyama, senior author of the study.
Many returning citizens rely heavily on friends and family for informal digital learning, but there must be additional advocacy for these individuals who are willing to become working, productive citizens in society, he said. “Returning citizens struggle in a variety of ways to re-integrate, and newer digital technologies pose yet another challenge. Returning citizens need more support to gain better digital literacy,” Toyama said.