Second-chance hiring is the hiring of people who have formerly been incarcerated. For the millions of men and women coming home from prison, finding a job is one of the biggest fears they are facing. But it is not simply a practice that “sounds good” from an ethical standpoint. It also offers very real benefits. If you are an employer, there are opportunities for you as well as the employee.
To start off, employment helps reduce recidivism. This is one of the main factors to giving someone the best chance to keep from going back to prison. A steady source of income provides financial stability, removing a major stressor in a person’s life that can push them into criminal behaviors. Reducing recidivism is beneficial not just for the individual remaining out of prison, but for their family and the safety of the community as a whole .
Secondly, second-chance hires have shown to be effective and loyal in their employment. Research shows that “85 percent of human resource and 81 percent of business leaders report than individuals with criminal records perform the same as or better than employees without criminal records.” An additional 2018 study found that “individuals with criminal records have a much longer tenure and are less likely to quit their jobs voluntarily than other workers.” Many second-chance hires will know first-hand the difference a job makes in a person’s life and understand the value of being employed. This makes them less likely to leave their current job, creating company loyalty and less turn-over for employers.
Finally, “The federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit gives employers who hire a qualified ex-felon a tax credit of up to 25% of their first year’s wages if the employee works at least 120 hours, and 40% if they work over 400.”
When we provide opportunities in our places of employment, we are creating opportunities. Jobs for second chance men and women come with benefits for you the employer as well. Not just in therms of incentives, but often returning citizens make the best employees. In fact, there are many released ex-felons eager for a second chance. Employment is a great step in giving them that chance. Second chance hiring doesn’t just change the life of the ex-felon, but provides new opportunities. These opportunities can break cycles of poverty and incarceration, changing the entire legacy of a family!