Second Chance Hiring, Explained | Apopka’s voice


By Juliet Bennett Rylah, The Hustle

Second chance hiring is when companies hire people who were previously incarcerated.

It picks up in several industries, for The Wall Street Journaldue in part to:

  • A national labor shortage
  • Groups like the Second Chance Business Coalition, which is made up of more than 40 companies committed to the practice, including American Airlines, Target and Microsoft.

why is it important

There are more than 70 million Americans with arrest or conviction records, and about 600,000 people are released from prison each year.

Finding stable employment can reduce recidivism, but there are often significant barriers.

According to a report by the Brookings-AEI Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform, those involved in the corrections system in the United States tend to be undereducated and underemployed compared to the general population. About two-fifths of people entering prison do not have a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED), a rate that is three times higher than for adults in the United States. The disparity for post-secondary education is even greater, where the rate at which adults have an associate’s degree or higher is four times higher than what has been observed for inmates.

Due to the stigmatizing mark of a criminal record as well as the association between education levels and employment, relatively high unemployment rates have been observed for correctional populations. A number of studies have shown that the pre-incarceration employment rate (during the year prior to incarceration) of incarcerated persons is no more than 35%. Post-release employment rates have been found to increase shortly after release from prison, but decline thereafter, eventually returning to pre-prison employment levels within a few years.

  • Over 90% of employers conduct background checks. A criminal record can reduce the chances of a second interview by 50%.
  • A 2018 analysis found that the unemployment rate among formerly incarcerated people was over 27%.

A 2014 report estimated that 1.7 to 1.9 million people were excluded from the labor market due to these barriers, costing the United States dearly. $78 billion to $87 billion in annual GDP.

The results of second chance hires are positive

A 2021 report from the Society for Human Resource Management found that 85% of HR professionals believed employees with criminal records performed the same or better than those without.

They also have lower turnover rates, which saves businesses money.

BESIDES: Last week we wrote about remote work increasing opportunities for people with disabilities.

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