| STIGMA

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CRIMINAL STIGMA GETS NEGOTIATED AND CONTESTED IN EVERYDAY SETTINGS.

Despite increasing public understanding of how “crime” is shaped by political, social and economic contexts, and how different bodies enacting the same behaviors are treated differently by the legal system, criminal behavior is still often treated as a simple matter of individual choice. In turn, criminal stigma is seen as less deserving of social empathy or legal protection than those stigmas that are the result of accident or birth. People who are labelled as criminal have long been stigmatized as dishonest, untrustworthy and otherwise disreputable and must constantly navigate and work to counter this perception.

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ARTICLE

Scripting the Conviction: Power and Resistance in the Management of Criminal Stigma

By Melissa Burch

Design by Ana Holschuh

People with criminal records seeking employment face a dilemma: how to discuss their conviction(s) in a job interview. Rather than challenge criminalizing practices or stigma itself, job seekers are encouraged to dissociate from criminal stigma and develop narratives that reinforce dominant frameworks of personal responsibility, remorse, and rehabilitation. This article explores how criminalized people could craft scripts that contribute to their liberation.

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