Every year, nearly 700,000 people are released from prison. Unfortunately, these individuals can find themselves locked out of the job market due to outdated employment practices that continue to present barriers to their hiring. With the unemployment rate below 4 percent, however, this is no longer a practical strategy for organizations.
The First Step Act, signed into law in December 2018, aims to reduce sentences for nonviolent offenders in federal prisons and improve programs to reduce recidivism, including workforce readiness. Employers who struggle to fill positions in a job market where there are more jobs than applicants can take the next step by including this population in their recruiting efforts.
Those who have served their time should not be “re-sentenced” by employers, especially when businesses are experiencing a human capital crisis.
So how should employers take the first step? SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work initiative provides employees with resources, including the Getting Talent Back to Work toolkit to help organizations create a successful second chance hiring program.
In her blog post What Employers Need to Know About Successful Second Chance Hiring, Cornbread Hustle founder Cheri Garcia says, “I have seen first-hand the successes and failures when it comes to helping people coming out of prison find employment. My biggest fear is that we are going to successfully create an awareness for second-chance hiring and see poor results because of lack of education or tools. This could hurt the reputation of what we are trying to do and hurt the reputation of people who really do deserve real opportunities and have transformed their lives.”
What is your experience with second chance hiring?
Please join @shrmnextchat at 3:00 p.m. ET on April 10 for #Nextchat with special guest Cheri Garcia (@Luminous_Cheri) -- and Cornbread Hustle recruiters Juan Garcia (@JuanGarciaHD) and Jesus Monge (@JesusMonge75)! We’ll chat about how to create and manage a second-chance hiring program.
Q1. If your organization currently has a program in place to hire candidates with criminal histories, what were your biggest challenges getting started?
Q2. What considerations should be made when screening candidates with criminal histories?
Q3. How can an employer assess whether a formerly incarcerated applicant has a record of rehabilitation that shows a likelihood that the person will commit future harmful acts?
Q4. Not all convictions pose a significant risk on all jobs. The threshold question is whether the job in question presents an opportunity for the type of conduct involved in the conviction. What other considerations should the risk analysis include?
Q5. What considerations should be made when interviewing candidates with criminal histories?
Q6. What should employers consider when creating a program in their organization to hire applicants with criminal records?
Q7. How can hiring the formerly incarcerated help grow your business?
Q8. What advice can you share with other employers for creating a program to hire people with criminal histories?