5 Reasons Why Hiring an Ex-Con Might Be Right

July 24, 2019 | 3,903 views

5 Reasons Why Hiring an Ex-Con Might Be Right
5 Reasons Why Hiring an Ex-Con Might Be Right

I used to volunteer in a male prison with youths under 18 convicted of serious crimes (this was no juvey). It was an interesting experience, filled with everything from trepidation and fear to incredible satisfaction and joy when things went well. The best memories were the moments when the inmates let down their guard and were able to be themselves, unencumbered by their convictions, their gang reputations, or their need to survive in a rough environment.

So many of our convicts have incredible smarts and people-reading skills, but those who leave incarceration often have a rough road and dismal opportunities. You, as a conscientious citizen, could be a bright light that leads the way out. For you, hiring an ex-con might be not only right, but an excellent business choice.

1. They Are Probably Not Violent

The Bureau of Prisons data say that only 3% of prisoners are arrested for violent crimes. Most are in for drug-related offences. Now, as a business owner, you would like to avoid both violence and drug problems, but I think the percentage of potentially violent and drug-crime prospective employees is higher out of prisons. At least with an ex-con, you can know what the issue might be.

2. You Contribute to Your Community by Reducing Crime

According to the Department of Justice, close to 70% of convicts return to jail because it is hard to find a job. Resorting to crime, again, is a small step for them, but you can be part of the solution as a socially aware employer in your community. Sometimes, doing the right thing is smarter than making a few more bucks.

3. You Might Get a Tax Break

Speaking of dollars, when you contribute to the employment and hopeful rehabilitation of an ex-con, you can be eligible for tax breaks of up to nearly $10,000. The federal government’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit reward you for being a good citizen and frugal business owner.

4. You’ve Always Wanted to Coach

We all make mistakes, and a good coach can help us correct it.  As an employer, you will find ex-cons whose knowledge and skills are surprising valuable. For starting pay, you can discover the talent within and see if your coaching and life view is one that can help one who wants very much to support their family with good, honest work. If character matters to you and you are a good example, you may be hiring the next great player on your winning team.

5. They Appreciate Loyalty

Because there are so many barriers to employment and financial stability, an ex-con hire will probably be thankful and may turn into an exceptionally loyal employee. Even if you groom them to move on to bigger and better things, they will remember the trust you showed and confidence you bestowed. That can mean indirect benefits to your business in the form of referrals and street credit for what you provided. If you looked out for them, they will appreciate and foster that loyalty.

We use a lot of words about how someone had paid his debts after illegal activity. If we truly believe this part of our culture and justice system, maybe we should walk the talk a bit more. Given the opportunity, hiring convicted criminals as employees might be one of the most righteous things you ever do as an employer.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.   

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