County Home

Why You Should Hire At Least One Person with Justice Involvement

When you're looking for a new employee, a criminal record is usually not high on your list of qualifications and experience. But don't be quick to dismiss reentering ex-offenders. Men and women who have been to prison or jail and are now reentering their communities have paid for their crime, and are usually grateful and willing to work hard for a second chance.

Think of these men and women as a recycled workforce that is readily-available, eager, and valuable. Consider the following:

They're hungry for work.
Most employers refuse to take a chance on ex-offenders - a 2003 study of businesses in four major cities found that only 12.5% of employers were willing to accept applications from them. Because these men and women know their options are limited, they're typically willing to work hard to prove themselves, starting in entry level positions.

They're skilled.
Many reentering residents have participated in training programs while incarcerated that could give them special qualifications for a job at your company.

They're supervised.
Reentering workers may have a parole or probation officer who checks in on them. They have to maintain a job as a condition of their release, so they're less likely to skip work or show up late. Many of them are routinely (and randomly) tested for drugs and illegal substances by the court. In short, these men and women need to stay clean, sober, and dedicated to stay out from behind bars, and they're motivated to maintain their freedom.

Helping them will help your community.
Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown, a member of the Franklin County Reentry Coalition, puts it best when she says, "Working to fully reintegrate returning inmates to our community is the perfect example of Tikkun Olam - Repairing the World. Together, we are strengthening our workforce, enhancing our productivity, and increasing our base of taxpayers. We are empowering people to take responsibility for themselves and their obligations, removing them and their children from public assistance. We are making our neighborhoods safer by systematically redirecting people from illegal activity to legal productive work. And, we are healing our community and our residents by restoring dignity and self-worth to individuals and rebuilding families."

You could be eligible for tax breaks.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Tax Credit Program are federal income tax credits that encourage employers to hire ex-offenders and other targeted groups of job seekers. These program offer employers significant tax incentives to hire reentering workers. To obtain additional information, contact: Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, Bureau of Support Services, WOTC/WtW Section, 614.644.0966, or visit www.jfs.ohio.gov/wotc/.

The State of Ohio stands behind you.
The State of Ohio, in a bipartisan measure, has passed legislation making it easier for you to hire reentering workers by removing the so-called "collateral sanctions" of their previous convictions, and making it easier for them to reinstate professional licenses to cut hair, work construction, sell hearing aids, or work as security guards.

Everyone deserves a second chance.
How many of us would like to be judged for the rest of our lives for mistakes made in our long-ago past? Ex-offenders whose crimes are long in the past pose no greater risk than people in the general population, according to a study funded by the US Justice Department. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that the "hazard rate" for a first-time arrestee for robbery was the same as someone who'd never been convicted after seven-and-a-half years. For someone arrested for aggravated assault, the risk to employers disappeared after four years with no subsequent criminal activity. The research illustrates that many ex-offenders are fully capable of redeeming themselves for foolish acts in their youth, and are deserving of employment opportunities.

Meet the Challenge Take the Pledge