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Showing posts with label companies hire ex felons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label companies hire ex felons. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Scrubbing The Past To Give Those With A Criminal Record A Second Chance

Scrubbing The Past To Give Those With A Criminal Record A Second Chance Latosha Poston says she made a lot of mistakes in her life. Her legal troubles began in her teens after her first child was born in Indianapolis. Over the years, bad decisions led to some arrests, some convictions.
Barbara Brosher/Indiana Public Media

Latosha Poston says she made a lot of mistakes in her life. Her legal troubles began in her teens after her first child was born in Indianapolis. Over the years, bad decisions led to some arrests, some convictions.

"Sometimes we get stuck in our past and let our past guide us," she says.

The 44-year-old has worked hard to straighten out her life. But her criminal records — all involving misdemeanors — continued to haunt her as she tried to find a decent job and place to live.

Then, while watching the local news, she heard about Indiana's Second Chance law, passed in 2013. It allows people to petition to remove their misdemeanor convictions and arrests from public view.

Indiana is among several states to change their approach to the restoration of a person's rights and status after an arrest or conviction. In the last two years, more than 20 states have expanded or added laws to help people move on from their criminal records — most involve misdemeanors. Marijuana legalization and decriminalization have played a big role in driving these reforms. Fairness is another factor, with lawmakers from both parties rethinking the long-term consequences of certain criminal records, as well as the economic impact of mass incarceration.

There are also purely economic reasons to encourage the sealing of criminal records.

"It hurts communities, it hurts counties and it hurts states if their citizens cannot be productively employed or aren't part of the tax base," says American University law professor Jenny Roberts, who has written extensively on the collateral consequences of convictions. "So there's certainly an economic incentive for allowing people to move beyond their criminal record."

The state-level reforms have helped tens of thousands of people across the United States.

Poston of Indianapolis is among them. After working in home health care for nearly 20 years and making just over $11 an hour, she landed a much better-paying job in a hospital as an operating room assistant once her records were sealed.

"I felt like something was lifted off," she says of her case. "Because now I kind of felt like a human."

With background checks ubiquitous for jobs, schools, mortgage applications and more, even one conviction — and sometimes even just one arrest — can dog people for years, critics say, relegating them to permanent second-class status.

"No one should underestimate how much even the most minor of misdemeanor convictions — including marijuana or trespassing or any kind of conviction — can affect someone's ability to get a job, to get housing and to function fully in society," says Roberts, who also co-directs the Criminal Justice Clinic at American University in Washington, D.C.

Time for change

The reform trend reflects an emerging consensus that the social and economic problems created by mass prosecution and incarceration call for a fundamental reimagining of the criminal justice system.

While reformers largely welcome the moves by states, there's concern that a patchwork of laws as well as steep legal fees, prosecutorial foot-dragging and other barriers have blunted what is otherwise seen as a rare area of bipartisan, effective reform.


Scrubbing The Past To Give Those With A Criminal Record A Second Chance
The Expungement Help Desk in Indianapolis helps people with criminal records file petitions to get their records expunged or sealed.
Barbara Brosher/Indiana Public Media
"The states are really all over the map on this stuff, and they're all reinventing the wheel," says attorney Margaret Love, executive director of the Collateral Consequences Resource Center and an expert on clemency and restoration of rights.

She and others are calling on the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Center for State Courts and the American Bar Association to study and share what reforms are showing the most promising outcomes.

"Right now it's getting harder for state legislatures to pick out a single approach," Love says. "We have to start looking at this in a more systematic way and look at what works best."

For example, there's a growing body of evidence that it undermines public safety if you don't help people move beyond their criminal records and participate in the workforce. Without that help, the chance of people returning to the criminal justice system increases.

One study estimates that the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is more than 27 percent — far higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression. The rate is even higher for African-Americans who've had run-ins with the law.

With the national jobless rate at historical lows, many companies are looking at new ways to hire additional workers. A recent survey showed that more than 80 percent of managers — and two-thirds of human resource professionals — "feel that the value workers with criminal records bring to the organization is as high as or higher than that of workers without records."

Indiana's example

As in many other states, the work of sealing and expungement in Indiana mostly falls to nonprofit legal groups and private attorneys. But in Marion County, the prosecutor's office has hired a full-time paralegal to process all requests. The county has had more than 11,500 people come through since legislators implemented the law.

While the mood nationally surrounding expungement has dramatically improved, some prosecutors and judges remain skeptical or outright opposed to records clearing. Philosophically they don't think those who've broken the law should get a clean slate.

So it helps a lot that in Marion County, which encompasses Indianapolis, Prosecutor Terry Curry fully supports the effort. He advocated for the law because he thinks people who've stayed out of trouble shouldn't carry the legal stain forever.

"If our goal is to have individuals not reoffend, then in our mind it's appropriate to remove obstacles that are going to inhibit their ability to become productive members of our community," Curry says.

While most cases in Indiana involve misdemeanors, judges have discretion with violent-felony petitions. Victims of those crimes also can give testimony. More serious felonies can be expunged eight or 10 years after the completion of the sentence.

Some crimes must have the prosecutor's written consent for expungement. Homicides and some sexual offenses are not eligible for expungement in Indiana and in most other states.

You can petition to have records for convictions expunged only once in your lifetime. If you are convicted of other charges later on, there's no chance of having them sealed.

While the process in Indiana and in other states seems simple, serious hurdles remain. Expungement can be time consuming and costly. There are filing fees for every petition — fees not everyone can afford.

In addition, the process can vary from county to county depending on cooperation from local prosecutors. Advocates in Indiana want lawmakers to make it easier for people to expunge their records — regardless of where they are in the state.

Getting the word out

Even more vexing — in Indiana and throughout the country — is the general ignorance about existing expungement laws. People just don't know they exist or how they work.

Public defenders from New York to Los Angeles say they have to do a better job of both getting the word out and pushing states to better fund these efforts.

At a recent LA-area expungement clinic, a man showed up who'd done significant prison time for a nonviolent felony. And he'd been off probation for more than five years. He still couldn't get a job. The man, who didn't want his name used, thought at first the expungement clinic was some kind of scam.

"He had no idea he could not only get it [the felony] expunged but reduced to a misdemeanor," says Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender Lara Kislinger, who was helping him with the paperwork. "He just had no idea. And he was so grateful. And he's been having so much trouble finding a job. And we want people to be able to re-enter society and be productive members of society. And this was a case where it was so obvious it was holding up jobs — and life. And it's tragic."

Expanding public knowledge of sealing and expungement laws takes money and effort. Many public defender offices already are overwhelmed, understaffed and underresourced.

How long should a record last?

Across the nation, felonies are harder to expunge and involve longer waiting periods, and in many states, homicides and certain sexual offenses are almost impossible to expunge.
Scrubbing The Past To Give Those With A Criminal Record A Second Chance
Jay Jordan, 33, is the director of the #TimeDone/Second Chances project for the nonprofit Californians for Safety and Justice. The clinic involves public defenders who volunteer to help people get their criminal charges or records reduced or expunged.
Philip Cheung for NPR
There's a new push in some states to clear some felony convictions, especially nonviolent ones.

California has taken the lead in reducing incarceration and prosecution of certain low-level drug crimes and nonviolent felonies following the passage of Proposition 47 and other measures. Past offenders can petition a court to reduce their crimes to misdemeanors.

Supporters say it has helped reduce the prison population and racial disparities in the justice system while saving taxpayers money. Funds are redirected, for example, into support services such as drug treatment and counseling.

Others say Proposition 47, while a good start, is inadequate. Jay Jordan of Los Angeles served seven years in prison for robbery. He has been out now for nearly eight years and says he still faces daunting obstacles to full re-entry into society.

"You know, I tried to adopt and was turned down. Tried to volunteer at school and was turned down. Tried [to] sell insurance, was turned down. Tried to sell used cars, was turned down. So, you know, every single step of the way when I try to better myself and, you know, be able to take care of myself for my family, there are these massive barriers," Jordan says. "And I'm not alone."

Indeed, there are some 8 million formerly incarcerated people in California. In the U.S., it's estimated that there are some 60 million people with a criminal record, according to federal statistics. The majority are misdemeanors. One report estimates as many people have criminal records as college diplomas.

Jordan now works for a nonprofit that advocates for rights of the formally incarcerated. In their work, Jordan and others are asking the basic question — how long should these convictions be on people's records if they've done their time and are working to become good citizens?

Not everyone wants these reforms. In California, some want to roll back parts of the state's criminal justice reforms through a proposed 2020 ballot initiative that would, among other things, reduce the number of inmates who can seek earlier parole and reclassify some theft crimes from misdemeanors to felonies.

"Proposition 47 was approved overwhelmingly by California voters who understood that permanently punishing people for a past mistake is not reflective of our shared American values nor is it an effective safety strategy," says Jordan, who directs Californians for Safety and Justice's #TimeDone/Second Chances campaign.

"Everyone who has an old, low-level, nonviolent felony on their record that is eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor under Prop. 47 should be able to get relief, and we want to make that as easy as we possibly can for folks," he says. "People deserve the chance to overcome the mistakes of their past, and that road to redemption should be as smooth as possible."

Some Democratic lawmakers in California are pushing back with proposed legislation that would automate the expungement process for all felonies that are eligible for reduction under the law.

Legal experts like Roberts, the American University law professor, caution that the best solution might be for prosecutors to simply take fewer minor cases to court in the first place.

"I don't think you can have an actual conversation about sealing and expungement and decriminalization until you talk about less prosecution and less funneling of low-level misdemeanors into the criminal justice system," Roberts says.


Companies that hire felons


Explained: Misdemeanors, Felonies, Pardons, and Expungements


Companies Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Felons | Jobs For Felons | Jobs For Ex-offenders | Jobs That Hire Felons | Resumes for Felons | Felon Friendly Jobs | Felon Friendly Employers | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record | Expungement



Scrubbing The Past To Give Those With A Criminal Record A Second Chance




Eric Mayo

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Five Bottom Line Reasons Why Employers Should Hire Ex-Felons


Mike Green, Contributor
Co-founder, ScaleUp Partners LLC

Five Bottom Line Reasons Why Employers Should Hire Ex-FelonsThere is no city in the nation that’s growing faster than the population of 70 million Americans with criminal records. As one of them, former real estate developer R.L. Pelshaw is determined to turn this costly societal burden into an opportunity. “With criminal records it’s difficult for many ex-offenders to get jobs making a livable wage,” Pelshaw said. “Showing (ex) criminals how to be successful in legal businesses is far better then returning to crime, and will change the destiny of millions of people.” For employers, there exists a real opportunity to disrupt the continuous cycle of quarantining humans. And for the sake of society at large, sustainable employment may not only represent our best opportunity to significantly disrupt recidivism and the growing population of Americans with criminal records, it may be our only option. Consider the costs. Between 1973 and 2009, the nation’s prison population grew by 705 percent. Over the past two decades costs of incarceration have skyrocketed more than 305 percent, according to a 2011 Pew study. States now spend more than $52B out of their budgets (second only to Medicaid), for incarceration. And the economic impact inherent in the process of policing and locking up those who perpetrate crimes in our communities is compounded by the economic impact of high recidivism rates of 84 percent for males, age 24 years and younger. This revolving door is fueled by a pipeline that has grown exponentially over the past several decades to the point where the United States incarcerates more of its population than any nation in the world. America’s employers must take note of what happens to released inmates when they re-enter society, often after years of being quarantined, and with little hope of finding employment that funds a new path to productive citizenship. In 2012, more than 630,000 inmates were released into targeted communities across America. According to the latest study by the Bureau of Justice, three of every four released prisoners were re-arrested within the five-year life of the study. An extraordinarily high percentage (89 percent) of ex-felons re-arrested were unemployed. Pelshaw is determined to change that. He launched and self-funded a campaign called, The National Hire Ex-Felons Campaign, designed to inform employers of the benefits of tapping into this 70-million-strong workforce. Of course, there are plenty of unemployed people who do not commit crimes. The suggestion is not that employment alone is a panacea for this national problem. But, there is no other immediate option to developing sustainable financial stability for ex-felons. The longer that former inmates remain unemployed following release, the greater the risk they will seek income through alternative means. Their fate impacts the fate of families, communities and ultimately society at large. Employment is one of the tools we have to address this growing problem. Those who pay their debt to society and emerge from prison with a new perspective and lease on life deserve an opportunity to earn a living. They represent a class of prospective employees unlike any other. But, why should employers assume the risk of hiring ex-felons? You may be surprised by these five fact-based, bottom line reasons. Hiring Incentives: Finding good help is a key factor in running a successful business. Too many employers get robbed daily by lazy employees who work with a sense of entitlement, watching the clock, anticipating that moment they can break free of the bonds that trap them in cubicles, offices and warehouses. Many daydream of weekend getaways and play-cations while robotically moving through tasks, diluting the level of worker productivity. Ex-felons are no stranger to hard work. And they are grateful for the opportunity to earn a living. Most believe they have something to prove to their families and employers. But there are additional bottom line incentives to employees who hire former inmates. Substantial tax credits are available for hiring ex-felons, such as the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Some states even provide partial wage reimbursement, additional tax credits, and other training funds for employers who hire ex-felons.
“We’ve had three (subsidies) that amount to several hundreds of thousands of dollars to bear down on training our employees,” said Mike Hannigan, CEO of Give Something Back. “It’s amazing to me how many resources are available to a company.” Employers who hire felons can also be eligible to obtain a free fidelity bond funded by the federal government to protect them against employee dishonesty or theft. More importantly, credible studies clearly indicate that ex-felons out of prison seven years or more have no higher rate of committing a crime than non-felons. A 2009 University of Maryland study found that people with a criminal record are at no greater criminal risk after they’ve been out seven to 10 years than those with no record. Employee Reliability: Few things hurt a business more than high turnover rates. Employers who spend too much time with a focus on hiring employees who won’t leave shortly thereafter find themselves neglecting other areas of the business that require attention. Ex-felons have far fewer options than conventional employees. Due to the scarcity of opportunities for ex-felons, many employers that hire them have lower turnover than with conventional hires. According to the Partnership for Safety and Justice, many ex-felons have a favorable employment and educational history. “In general, formerly incarcerated people are as reliable as other workers,” the report states, citing numerous studies. Hiring Opportunity: The landscape of employable ex-felons is large. Ex-offenders on probation often have to maintain employment as a condition of release. Most parolees are drug-tested by their probation officer or halfway house at no expense to employers. Most parole officers and halfway houses welcome contact with employers of supervised felons. That supervision de-risks the employment opportunity and is an added value at no cost to the employer. An estimated 6.9 million persons were under supervision of adult correctional systems in 2013, according to the Bureau of Justice. This is a significant, largely untapped and motivated work force. A 2008 study by the Urban Institute Justice Policy Center found that fewer than 45 percent of felons were employed eight months after being released. In real numbers that means more than 3.5 million prospective workers are available for hire. Economic Impact: Employers can make a considerable difference in transforming a criminal liability into a community asset. Unemployed ex-felons are at a greater risk of re-offending compared to employed ex-felons. Many ex-felons turn to crime and return to jail (recidivism) because they can’t find a job paying a livable wage.
“People who break the law need to be held accountable and pay their debt to society,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project. “At the same time, the collateral costs of locking up 2.3 million people are piling higher and higher.” According to VERA institute of Justice, the U.S. spends nearly40 billion a year to house inmates. The average cost per state to house one inmate is31,286 per year. But if that one felon gets a job instead of returning to prison, he or she now contributes to the economy by more than $10,000 a year, according to a Baylor University study. Crime Market Disruption: An estimated 70 million U.S. adults have arrest or conviction records based on Bureau of Justice statistics. Tougher sentencing laws, especially for drug offenses, have swelled that total. Society can’t afford to simply banish 70 million people from the workplace. Children of incarcerated adults are the highest at-risk group in America. Many follow in their parents’ footsteps, continuing the cycle of crime and fueling a criminal market pipeline. Children of felons are seven times more likely to be incarcerated themselves. They are more likely (23 percent vs 4 percent) to be expelled or suspended from school than other children.
And the criminal market isn’t just isolated to minority populations. Across the nation, 40 percent of young men (regardless of race) will have a police-record encounter before the age of 23. Of those incarcerated, 84 percent will return to prison. It’s a continuous criminal market cycle that costs taxpayers more than $52 billion a year and threatens the stability of families and communities, in particular those already suffering from economic distress. Employing an ex-felon can disrupt the cycle of this criminal market and provides an opportunity to restore stability to families through a solid financial footing. “To fight the vicious circle of crime and recidivism we need to create ways offenders, ex-offenders, those at risk to offend, and those living off crime (but not yet caught) can make money legitimately,” said Pelshaw, who is also the author of Illegal to Legal: Business Success for (ex) Criminals. With more than 630,000 inmates released into neighborhoods across America every year, the community of ex-felons released each year is larger than the population of many major cities. Employers are already discovering the challenges of finding good employees without criminal records. Perhaps it’s time employers considered the benefits of hiring good employees who happen to be ex-felons. Originally seen at Huffingtonpost.com: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-green/five-bottom-line-reasons-_b_8021476.html



Five Bottom Line Reasons Why Employers Should Hire Ex-Felons

Jobs for Felons: The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons 




Companies Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Felons | Jobs For Felons | Jobs For Ex-offenders | Jobs That Hire Felons | Resumes for Felons | Felon Friendly Jobs | Felon Friendly Employers | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record


Eric Mayo


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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs

Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs

 


Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs
Thanks for stopping by my blog.  You are here because either you have a criminal record and want to put your past behind you by getting a job and becoming a contributing member of society or you want to help someone you really care about.  Getting a job with a criminal record is going to be difficult but not impossible.  I work with ex-felons everyday and many of them get jobs right away while others have to put more work and be more determined to overcome their individual situations.  Here are some important steps that ex-offenders and ex-felons can take to  dramatically increase their opportunity to get hired


 Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs



Get a Copy of your Criminal Record

At some time during the job search, the question about criminal record is going to come up.  I encourage my students to be totally honest when talking about their background.  The best way to do this is to have an accurate record of your criminal convictions.  If you have a probation or parole officer, he/she can help you get a copy of your record.

Find out if the convictions on your record can be sealed or expunged.  To be clear, NO RECORDS CAN BE ERASED.  If someone tells you that you can erase your record, do not believe them.  There are legal processes that can have certain convictions and charges hidden from public view making your record easier to work with.  Your record, even if hidden from public view, will always be available to all government agencies, court systems and law enforcement.

There are lawyers who make tons of money by using these processes so they are not going to like this but, you can get this done for little or no money.  I suggest to all of my students to contact their local legal aid office.  There you will be able to find out of expungement or sealing is available in your state and what can be done about your record.  If it is an option for you, you can get help getting it done for little or no money.

Get Some Really Good References

Increasingly employers are paying attention to references when considering new employees.  Ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs should be able to provide strong references that will help them make a good impression on employers.  There are employers that will hire a felon and a strong set of references from the right people can help you get hired.

References are upstanding members of the community who would say something positive about you. Good references  could help an employer look past your record. References from religious leaders, teachers, former employers and local political leaders would look great to an employer.

Most employment applications ask for for three references.  You should always have at least four.  Be prepared to list a name, title, and contact information for each one.  Make certain contact information is current and keep it updated.  Over time, phone numbers, titles and addresses change.

Get permission from anybody you want to use as a reference. Let them know that you are looking for a job and a reference from them would really help.  Never offer anyone as a reference without their consent.  Once you have your references all together, keep them in your job search folder for easy access when it is time to fill out an application.

Only offer references when they are requested.  Never put references on a resume.  Include a line on the resume that may say "References will be furnished upon request."

Taking the time to get good references will have a powerful impact on your job search.



Get A Resume

If you are looking for a job without a well written resume, you are at a disadvantage. A resume is a short, concise document that states relevant information regarding your education, skills, experiences, accomplishments, and job-related background. A well written resume will help you present your best qualities to an employer. If you have a resume, have a professional person look at it to judge it's quality. If you do not have a well written resume, I suggest you get some help putting one together.



Dress to Get Hired

First impressions are very important.  What people think upon meeting you depends so much on what they see.  When prospective employers meet you for the first time what will they think they see?  Will they see a potential problem?  Will they see an ex-con trying to get a job?  Will they see a polished professional looking for an opportunity?  That will totally be up to you.

It is important that you look like someone of quality.  A well fitting suit with a nice shirt, a coordinated tie and polished shoes is what most ex-offenders and ex-felons should shoot for.  Your clothing should more for you that anything you say.



Get Some Quality Job Leads

Do you know what type of job you are looking for?  Do you know where open jobs are?  There are many ways to find out where jobs are.

1.  Networking - Networking is the single best way to find out where jobs are.  Networking is simply talking to people you already know to find out if they know about any open positions.

2.  State Job Services - State sponsored employment services have access to job openings and other services that can help you get a job.

3.  Temporary Employment - Companies use temporary employment services when they need help immediately for a certain amount of time.  A temporary agency could have you working on a very short time.  Some temporary assignment turn into permanent jobs.  Temporary agencies cater to a wide array of businesses like offices, restaurants, construction companies and even the medical industry.  Whatever type of work you do, you will be able to find a temporary agency that needs employees.  Check you local telephone directory or search online for agencies in your area and apply just as you would any other employer.

4.   Help Wanted Ads - Help wanted ads can be found in local newspapers. These advertisements can be found in the classifieds section of you daily newspaper, having listings of  open jobs. Ex-offenders and Ex-felons looking for jobs can also use the Internet to find help wanted ads.


Unfortunately, not all job fields are open to ex-offenders and ex-felon and you may not get the job you want right away.  You may have to start at the bottom and work your way up.  Be prepared


Practice Interviewing

The key to successful interviewing is practice.  You will have to practice how to answer questions especially the one you will get that relate to your criminal record.  Find someone to work with you practicing answering questions until you sound convincing.



These tips will get you started on your task of finding a job.  As I said before, it won't be easy, but having determination and working hard will definitely pay off



Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs



Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs



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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Shutting former felons out of opportunity is economically foolish

Nearly half of all children have a parent with a criminal record, and the US is losing $87 billion a year in GDP by not employing them



Shutting former felons out of opportunity is economically foolish
Ap Prison Visitor Fee A File Usa Az
(Photo: Matt York/AP)
Our nation’s failed experiment with overcriminalization has burdened between 70 million and 100 million people with criminal records. That's nearly a third of the population. Millions are marked with a scarlet letter that can lead to a lifetime of closed doors.

And closing opportunities — in housing, education and, more than anything else, employment — isn't just morally wrong, it's bad economic policy. 

The two of us don't agree on much — one of us is a former Obama administration official and the other works for Koch industries. But we both believe adamantly in the need for second chances and in the economic boon our country would experience if we fully gave them to people with criminal records who have paid their debt to society. 

And while there is some momentum in Congress to enact reforms on the federal level, the fact remains that the federal system is only a small part of America's criminal justice problem. The lion’s share of criminal records come from the states, and there’s much states can do to put fair chances within reach, no matter what happens in Washington in the coming weeks.

Doesn't make economic sense

Shutting people with criminal records out of the workforce costs the United States up to $87 billion in lost gross domestic product every year. Individuals who can’t make a living legally are more likely to continue breaking the law and are likely to go back to prison, causing costs to rise even higher. Needless, preventable cycles of recidivism strain government resources — and make our communities less safe.

If a job applicant has a criminal record, his chances of getting called back for the job or of getting a job offer are essentially cut in half. Sometimes, that bias is legally mandated. Most states have multiple occupational and business licensing laws that prohibit hiring people with felony convictions. Still more legal restrictions deny formerly incarcerated people access to crucial resources like loans, credit and educational opportunities. And if these individuals want to vote to change that system — well, they often can’t do that, either.

It’s not just individuals who suffer because of this discrimination — it’s entire families. More than 33 million kids in the USA have a parent with a criminal record.

When formerly incarcerated people can’t find housing, their children are often forced to live with grandparents or sent into foster care. These challenges can lead to behavioral and school performance problems that get in the way of a kid’s future — making it more likely for that family to be trapped in a cycle of poverty for generations.

Current laws aren't enough

There are already laws that are supposed to help folks get second chances. States allow people to petition to expunge or seal at least certain records. 

Nonetheless, thanks to antiquated and complex application processes, the steep cost of legal assistance and expensive court fees, millions of eligible Americans can’t move on with their lives.

Clearing those records should be made much simpler. Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic governor managed to work together this summer to do just that. They passed legislation, known as the Clean Slate Act, that will automatically seal certain types of records once a person has shown that he's on the right track by remaining crime free for a set period. States as diverse as Michigan, South Carolina and Colorado are seeking to do the same.

It’s a commonsense move that will make a huge difference — both for individuals and for the economy. 

In Michigan, improvements for the formerly incarcerated were seen even during the first year that their records were "set aside," according to a University of Michigan study. Wages, for example, increased by 22 percent. 

And data collected by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute show that most in the business world are open to hiring and working alongside individuals with criminal records.

The midterm elections exposed the deep divisions so many feel in this country. It also marked the start of political careers for a number of state legislators and governors. As they think about what they’ll prioritize during their terms, we hope they'll take up legislation that will automatically seal or expunge records, to give people the chance to start over and strengthen their state and local economies. 

Our nation works only if we keep our promises. This is a chance for state legislators to lead the way for their federal counterparts by moving past the divisions that too often define our politics. It’s an opportunity to come together — to strengthen our communities, to support our neighbors, to give people the opportunity to succeed. When we say that everyone deserves another chance and a fair shot at the American dream, let’s make sure we mean it.


David Plouffe and Mark Holden, Opinion contributors
The original article can be found here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/policing/2018/11/23/former-felons-being-pushed-out-workforce-hurting-our-economy/2016435002/


Shutting former felons out of opportunity is economically foolish



Eric Mayo

Companies Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Felons | Jobs For Felons | Jobs For Ex-offenders | Jobs That Hire Felons | Resumes for Felons | Felon Friendly Jobs | Felon Friendly Employers | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?

From The North Carolina Dept. of Commerce

The share of former offenders finding work in North Carolina within a year after release from state prison declined from 62% in 1998 to 39% in 2014. This article explores some of the factors that may be responsible for this trend, including changes in the labor market that have made it harder to find a job—particularly for blue-collar workers, and especially for former offenders.

In previous articles, we reported that the employment prospects of ex-offenders improved following the end of the Great Recession as the economy grew and the labor market tightened. However, data from the North Carolina Common Follow-up System (CFS) reveal that the post-release employment rates of former prisoners remain much lower than in the late 1990s—a potentially worrying trend.[1]

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?


This article, while not exhaustive, offers some theories for why the fortunes of former offenders recently released from state prison have worsened since the late 1990s. Job-finding rates have declined among jobseekers in general (not just ex-offenders) in North Carolina and nationwide over the past two decades, reflecting underlying changes in the labor market that have made it more difficult to find work. One change in particular—a slump in goods-producing jobs—may be limiting the types of employment opportunities traditionally available to former offenders. In addition, the widespread practice of pre-employment background checks has placed further impediments to post-release job-finding.

The upshot: regardless of the cause, former state prisoners in North Carolina are experiencing worse employment outcomes now than they did during earlier periods of economic growth. Individuals tasked with helping ex-offenders obtain employment may find it more challenging to serve this population than in previous decades, despite the opportunities afforded by North Carolina’s red-hot labor market.

Before proceeding to our theories, we should first note that the composition of the inmate population has changed over time in ways that may have affected the employment outcomes of former prisoners. For example, North Carolina’s 2011 Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) redirected misdemeanants from state prisons to county jails, thus increasing the prevalence of felons in the prison population. Prisoners’ education levels have also decreased over time, including prior to the JRA, and as a result they may be finding fewer opportunities for gainful employment after release.[2]

Another possible explanation can be found in labor market trends occurring during this period. It has gotten progressively more difficult for unemployed jobseekers to find work since the late 1990s. The share of unemployment insurance (UI) claimants employed within a year after layoff declined from 89% in 2000 (the earliest year available) to 82% in 2014. Similar trends can be seen in survey data; the percent of unemployed workers in the Current Population Survey finding work the following month declined from 34% in 1998 to 20% in 2014.[3]

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?


These declines in job-finding, which mirror national trends, have occurred alongside “jobless recoveries” that feature persistently slow job growth, high unemployment rates, and pervasive long-term unemployment after the end of each recession. Economists have proposed a wide range of explanations for jobless recoveries, including the widespread slowdown in new business startups, which has cut off an important source of job growth; businesses taking advantage of recessions to streamline their operations; and structural changes in the labor market that have yielded permanent job losses in certain industries. These various forces have, individually or combined, helped create a less hospitable labor market for all jobseekers—not just former offenders.

The concentration of job losses in certain sectors—particularly “blue collar” industries—provides an additional clue in explaining the worsening employment outcomes of ex-offenders. North Carolina has followed the rest of the nation in seeing declining levels of employment in goods-producing sectors, particularly in Manufacturing and Construction. The Construction sector experienced steep job losses after the Great Recession, while Manufacturing employment fell continuously from the late 1990s through 2010. Our state had nearly 350,000 fewer Manufacturing jobs and 36,000 fewer Construction jobs in 2014 than it did in 1998.

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?


Indeed, most of the decline in ex-offenders’ employment rates can be accounted for by fewer finding work in Manufacturing and Construction. These sectors employ a disproportionate share of former offenders; in 1998, 12% of former offenders were primarily employed in Manufacturing within a year after release, while 11% were employed in Construction.[4] By 2014, the share primarily employed in Manufacturing and Construction had fallen to 6% and 4%, respectively. Employment in these two sectors fell by 13 percentage points, accounting for most of the 23-percentage point decrease in former offenders’ employment rates. 

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?



Finally, we note that employer hiring practices may have made it more difficult for former offenders to find work. The vast majority of employers now conduct criminal background checks on job candidates, a trend driven in part by post-September 11th security concerns and the greater availability of inexpensive background checks. The increased prevalence of background checks makes it more difficult for otherwise-qualified former offenders, particularly felons, to obtain employment; academic studies have found that employers are less likely to consider job applicants with criminal records. Among North Carolina employers surveyed by LEAD in 2018 who reported difficulty hiring, 23% reported that applicants’ criminal records were a reason for their hiring challenges. 

General disclaimers:

Data sources cited in this article are derived from surveys and administrative records and are subject to sampling and non-sampling error. Any mistakes in data management, analysis, or presentation are the author’s.


[1] The earliest data available in the Common Follow-up System for state prisoners covers the year 1997, and the latest data covers the year 2014. We calculate wages in the year after release from state prison, and treat any wage-earning during this year as an indication of employment. Around 3% of released prisoners are released from more than one period of incarceration in a given year; for these persons, we include only the last release of each year. Wage data in the CFS are based on state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records from employers, and thus may omit earnings from federal government employment, self-employment, “under-the-table” jobs, and other work not covered by state UI laws.

[2] In 2010, only 28% of exiting prisoners had completed the 12th grade or higher, compared to 43% in 1998. Source: NC Department of Public Safety, Automated System Query

[3] We use longitudinally-linked Current Population Survey microdata from IPUMS-CPS, University of Minnesota, www.ipums.org

[4] Here we define “primary employment” as the sector in which a worker earned the most wages in each year. In 1998, 37% of employed former offenders primarily worked in Manufacturing and Construction within a year after release, compared to 23% of all workers in the state.


Companies that hire felons


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Eric Mayo

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers

  • More American companies, such as McDonald's and Delta Air Lines, are hiring ex-cons as part of their inclusion strategy.
  • Executives say 82 percent of their ex-offender hires have been at least as successful as their average hire, according to a report by the Society of Human Resources Management.
  • Only 14 percent of human resources managers won't consider hiring ex-offenders.

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers
Ty Hookway had to check on an office building his building services company, CleanCraft, was set to clean in upstate New York, and what he saw changed his business and his life. The maintenance person who was supposed to do the work had called in sick, and when Hookway got there, he found one of his newer hires, Sanford Coley, in the building, working away in shorts rather than his uniform.

But what really got Hookway's attention: The shorts revealed that Coley was wearing an ankle bracelet. He was on parole for bank robbery. Hookway hadn't thought to ask about Coley's criminal record.

"I was thinking I should fire him," Hookway said. "Now he's one of my best friends."

More stories like this may be coming to offices like yours. With the job market tight, ex-felons and other workers who often struggled to find jobs are getting a second look, according to a recent report by the Society for Human Resource Management, which surveyed more than 2,000 corporate managers and HR executives nationwide on their attitudes about ex-offenders for a report released in May.

Unemployment among ex-felons isn't explicitly tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it was estimated at 27 percent last year by the Prison Policy Initiative. But some researchers think it's even higher — informal estimates claim as many as half of released convicts failed to find jobs or stayed out of the labor force. Since an estimated one-third of U.S. adults have at least an arrest record, according to the human resources society, it's a lot of people.

"This isn't a problem of aspirations, it's a structural problem involving discrimination and a lack of opportunities available to people who have been to prison," said Lucius Couloute, a policy analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative. "It really takes employers who are willing to let go of their biases in pursuit not only of equality but of the best candidates."

Corporations are showing at least some signs of interest, advocates say. In addition to SHRM's study, the job site Glassdoor barred job listings from employers who intend to weed out ex-offenders. New Jersey-based consultant Eric Mayo says a long list of top American companies have proved themselves open to hiring ex-offenders, mostly for service jobs, ranging from minimum-wage employers from McDonald's to CNBC parent Comcast and, in Mayo's Atlantic City backyard, casinos, which he said are practically cities unto themselves, demanding an array of service workers.

Corporations are showing at least some signs of interest, advocates say. In addition to SHRM's study, the job site Glassdoor barred job listings from employers who intend to weed out ex-offenders. New Jersey-based consultant Eric Mayo says a long list of top American companies have proved themselves open to hiring ex-offenders, mostly for service jobs, ranging from minimum-wage employers from McDonald's to CNBC parent Comcast and, in Mayo's Atlantic City backyard, casinos, which he said are practically cities unto themselves, demanding an array of service workers.

"It really takes employers who are willing to let go of their biases in pursuit not only of equality but of the best candidates."-Lucius Couloute, policy analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative

"I encourage people to apply for every job they feel qualified for," Mayo said. "Even without a felony record, looking for a job is a numbers game.''

To stoke more action, the federal government is offering a tax incentive called the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for employers who hire and retain ex-felons, veterans and individuals from other target groups with significant barriers to employment. Under this program if an employee works at least 120 hours a year, a company can claim a 25 percent tax credit of their first year's wages and 40 percent if he or she works 400 hours.

Some cities and states also offer tax credits and other incentives to employers willing to hire ex-cons and give them a second chance. Philadelphia's Fair Chance Hiring Initiative provides a cash reimbursement to employers who hire felons that have been released from prison within the past five years.

Many employers are apprehensive about hiring felons and look for ways to hedge their risk. They partner with local organizations that work to train ex-cons for jobs and provide other types of rehabilitation services. To find these organizations, state unemployment or workforce development offices can offer referrals.

The Federal Bonding Program is another option companies turn to. This program bonds felons who are hired and mainstreamed by companies of all sizes. The bond provides compensation if an employer suffers theft or loss due to the employee's dishonesty.

Eliminating bias in the workplace

If there is a ground zero for the push to destigmatize a criminal history in the workplace, it is Greyston, a 100-person Yonkers, New York, bakery that makes mostly brownies for a client list that includes Unilever's Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream unit, Amazon's Whole Foods grocery chain and Delta Air Lines. "We consider them the crown jewel of our values-led sourcing program," said Unilever spokesman Sean Greenwood, pointing out that Greyston, while founded by a Buddhist monk with a mission to do good, has balanced its social mission with being a reliable, businesslike supplier for decades.

Greyston's "open hiring" model means that anyone who puts their name on a list for a production job can have one as they become available, CEO Mike Brady said. The trick is, they have to make it through an apprenticeship program designed to test (and build) their basic work aptitudes, such as staying on schedule and working well with others. About half don't make it, Brady said. But enough do to convince Greyston that other companies would be better off investing less in screening out workers and more in training and supporting them to capitalize on second chances and on connecting them to social services they need to support a transition to working life.

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"We'll hire anyone who walks through the front door — no questions asked," said Brady, who estimates that about 40 Greyston workers have criminal records. "We do everything we can to make them successful. But if they're not, we let a lot of people go.''

Two such candidates are one-time drug dealers Dion Drew and Alvin Wilson. Drew, 41, grew up in Yonkers and said he plied his old trade a three-minute walk from Greyston. Wilson, 64, spent nearly a decade after his release as a self-employed contractor, doing everything from carpentry to snow shoveling before coming to work there.

Drew has become an ambassador for open hiring, even doing a Ted Talk with Brady about it. He got out of prison in 2008 after his third conviction, got rejected everywhere he applied, and landed a $7.15-an-hour gig as a Greyston apprentice in 2009. He's now a $25-an-hour supervisor with an eight-year-old daughter and two stepchildren. He claims he has the two dogs and now "just needs the house."

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers
Greyston CEO Mike Brady with employee Dion Drew, a former drug dealer  


Wilson is a mixer on the brownie line, where the quickly moving array of goodies waiting to be wrapped recall the famous scene from I Love Lucy where the heroines land short-lived jobs in a candy factory (the bakery makes about a tractor-trailer load of brownies daily, or 7 million pounds per year). He was released in 2008, from the last of his five felony cases, and arrived at Greyston two years ago.

Both said their big problem in getting back to work was learning how to take direction and fit in, as people do in the workplace. And each said the biggest difference between themselves and others who fail at reentering society is that they simply decided, while in jail, that they had to do better.

"If you can't make your mind up in 12-and-a-half years what you want to do in life, it's never going to happen," Wilson said.

"I set my goals and plans while I was upstate," Drew added. "I wanted to save money the right way, to have a family. I wanted to put the smile back on my mom's face.''

Greyston now is trying to package its approach to lure in other companies. Just a short drive from its factory, Greyston set up the Center for Open Hiring, which Perry Solomon, a consultant working on the project, described as a way of training companies to "think the right way" — swapping expenses spent finding workers who don't have red flags for more investment in training.

"Where I see the ROI is in tremendous loyalty, productivity and culture," Brady said.

Changing attitudes

A study on employers' attitudes toward hiring ex-felons suggests that many are ready for change. Only 14 percent of human-resources managers won't consider hiring ex-offenders, the report commissioned by the Society of Human Resources Management and funded by the Charles Koch Instituted says. The biggest reason is simple: 82 percent of executives say their ex-offender hires have been at least as successful as their average hire. Other common motivations were to help build communities and give ex-offenders a second chance.

Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers
Greyston's president and CEO Mike Brady in front of the company's Center for Open Hiring


But only 5 percent actively recruit ex-offenders, the survey said. The most important factors in getting hired: A verifiable work history, and some level of education or training after the workers were convicted, indicating that they improved themselves while imprisoned.

That's consistent with a study by the RAND Institute, which found that 59 percent of employers would consider an ex-offender with one conviction if they were given an incentive through a tax credit, which they are offered under federal law. But the biggest difference-maker is if employers can recover staffing-agency fees they pay to find workers who don't stick with the job, or get the agencies to find them a replacement worker for free if they take a chance on an ex-offender who doesn't work out.

Rand found that employers are much less willing to look at felons with a history of violence, such as robbery charges, Rand scholar Priscilla Hunt said.

"What they responded to was staffing-agency fees," Hunt said. "Even more than if you increased the [tax credit] money."

What doesn't appear to work as well is trying to force employers' hands by forbidding them to ask about criminal records on job applications. So-called "ban the box" laws, named for the check-box next to questions about whether applicants have records, often lead to racial discrimination, as employers screen out a broad swath of minority applicants in order to avoid interviewing ex-offenders, according to research by Rutgers University economist Amanda Agan.

Screening out ex-offenders can also subject employers to liability for policies that have a disproportionate racial impact, said Dariely Rodriguez, director of the economic justice project at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

"Employers have an obligation not to discriminate," Rodriguez said. "They have an obligation to root out bias."

Mostly, employers can help ex-offenders while also helping themselves, Hookway said.

"You have to develop the culture where everyone is on board," Hookway said, comparing ex-offenders with work-friendly attitudes to people who have succeeded in addiction treatment. "Once they get on the right side, they become advocates. They'll hold other employees accountable. They want it more."




Why companies are turning to ex-cons to fill slots for workers


companies hire felons | companies that hire felons | Companies that hire ex-offenders | Employers that hire ex-offenders | employers that hire felons | Jobs for felons | jobs for ex-offenders | jobs that hire felons | places that hire felons | felon friendly jobs | felon friendly employers | how to get a job with criminal record | second chance jobs for felons | temp agencies that hire felons | high paying jobs for felons

Eric Mayo

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