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Americans Heavily Favor Hiring Ex-Cons for Open Jobs

Fully 89% of Americans say ex-offenders should be given a second chance, a survey says.
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With employers having more jobs available than people looking to take them, a push is on for ex-convicts to be given employment opportunities.

Most Americans apparently support the idea. A total of 89% say ex-offenders should be given a second chance, according to a survey from Zety, an online resume-building service.

And 79% maintain that ex-offenders deserve the same employment opportunities as non-offenders.

A total of 87% say employment can change ex-offenders' lives for good, and 80% said they would be happy to work with ex-offenders.

To be sure, a total of 82% of respondents believe job opportunities should differ depending on what crimes ex-offenders were convicted of.

And 81% said all ex-offenders should be risk-assessed before they are offered jobs. A total of 78% said they found it difficult to trust ex-offenders.

Still, 81% said ex-offenders were just as capable of being good workers as people without criminal records; 76% said ex-offenders tend to work harder than people without criminal records; and 75% said ex-offenders are more loyal to their employers than people without criminal records.

Benefits of Hiring

A Federal Bureau of Prisons memo to employers advocates for hiring ex-convicts.

“Employers are encouraged to participate in creating opportunities to help individuals become law-abiding, productive citizens,” it said. “Many ex-offenders are willing to start in minimum-wage jobs that offer a future.”

The memo listed three reasons that businesses should consider hiring an ex-offender.

1. Service to the public. “By providing work opportunities, you can help ex-offenders become taxpaying citizens who contribute to the community, and give them a chance to share in the American dream.”

2. Skilled employees. “Most ex-offenders have completed programs designed to help them develop the skills needed to achieve success in the world of work,” the memo said. Many have had employment and training in a prison program provided by the government corporation Unicor. “Some have valuable skills and can fill jobs for which skilled workers are hard to find,” the memo said.

3. Business Incentives. Employers can get theft insurance up to $5,000 provided by the Unicor Federal Bonding Program for ex-convicts who worked in the Unicor program.

The Labor Department’s Federal Bonding Program protects employers from employee dishonesty, covering any type of stealing: theft, forgery, larceny, and embezzlement, the memo said.

And tax credits are available for employers who hire ex-offenders.

Google’s Program

Alphabet’s  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report Google is involved with helping ex-offenders transition to the workplace. 

In June 2022, Grow with Google launched a $4 million fund for nonprofit organizations to “bring lessons on digital skills to justice-impacted individuals,” Google said in a statement.

“Hundreds of organizations from across the country submitted ideas and our team is now working alongside experts to evaluate the proposals. 

"Together, we’ll equip 100,000 people with skills they need to find a job, start a business, or enhance their careers.”