Michigan’s returning citizens leverage prison work experiences to create new careers on the outside

For people who have been incarcerated, the road to reintegration into society can be long and challenging, especially when it comes to finding employment. Many employers remain reluctant to hire individuals with criminal records, which can create a significant barrier for those trying to rebuild their lives after serving time. This reluctance can create a vicious cycle, leading to recidivism and further incarceration.  

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RELATED: Watch One Detroit’s Future of Work town hall on returning citizens with Detroit Action

Despite these challenges, some returning citizens here in Michigan have found success in the outside world by leveraging the skills they learned in prison and finding ways to overcome the obstacles they face— but not all of them.  

In a series of special Future of Work reports, One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota and special correspondent Mario Bueno, a returning citizen himself, meet three other returning citizens to hear how they’ve found success through adversity.  

Bueno talks with construction company owner Kimiko Uyeda, who served six years for filing a false police report; Kenneth Nixon, a Wayne State University student and Safe & Just Michigan employee who served 16 years after being wrongfully convicted for murder; and Aron Knall, a downriver barber who’s training for his barber’s license but had worked as a barber for nearly 30 years during his prison sentence. 

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