While reading Orange is the New Black recently, I was struck by a point the author made about the difficulties prisoners face when they’re finally able to leave prison and re-enter society. After living in an institution that supplies them with a job, food, and place to live, many are unprepared to step back into the “real” world.
For example, the book’s author mentions that because of advantages she had before prison (like a college degree) there was a job waiting for her when she finished her sentence—which was not the case for many prisoners. Many of the women around her did not even have a high school diploma let alone a college degree. And not only did they lack education, but experience. Many of the prisoners had never had real jobs. With little practical job training available in prison, job opportunities have become severely limited for the formerly incarcerated.
To Hire Or Not to Hire?
The message I want to share is simply that employers shouldn’t be afraid to hire ex-offenders just because of a conviction. While there are cases when a candidate with a criminal record should be disqualified for the safety of your employees, clients, company, etc., there are instances when you shouldn’t let a conviction stand in the way of your hiring decision.
On the candidate’s side of the argument, it’s fair to say for most—they are looking for jobs. They want jobs. Whether they spent time in prison, or simply made unfortunate mistakes in the past, many want to redeem themselves by finding a stable job. And it’s for individuals like these that employers have the choice to look beyond the results of an employment background check.
Whether you need to be convinced that hiring ex-offenders could be a good idea or you want to hear best practices for doing so, keep reading. [...]