Employers Want Guarantees Before Hiring the Formerly Incarcerated: Study

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Employers are more likely to hire formerly incarcerated individuals if they are guaranteed a replacement in the event the individual doesn’t work out, according to a Rand study.

They also were 53 percent more likely to employ released inmates if a reentry service or state agency could provide a certificate showing “positive previous work performance,” and the individual could demonstrate he or she had a consistent means of transportation to get to the job, Rand said.

The conclusions were based on a survey of 107 employers that Rand said were “broadly representative” of industries around the country with work forces of less than 100 persons.

“It might seem as though employers are worried only about whether ex-offenders will conduct themselves in a safe manner or be courteous to staff and customers, but they want more details about a person’s work performance,” the study authors wrote.

Rand said its findings only applied to the employment of ex-offenders with one nonviolent felony conviction, noting that more than half of the survey respondents showed concern about hiring individuals imprisoned for violent felonies.

The survey, entitled ‘Breaking Down Barriers,” was aimed at identifying policies that would provide hiring incentives to employers, even as many states have moved to abolish discriminatory practices such as asking for previous convictions on job applications, in response to the nationwide “Ban the Box” movement.

But it made clear that without more pro-active policies, employers would continue to remain cautious about hiring people who had served prison time.

According to the findings, more than half the employers who responded to the survey said they would consider putting a former inmate on their payroll if tax credits were provided, along with a “post-conviction certificate” that showed the individual would adhere to company rules.

The findings lend added weight to initiatives aimed at improving the work skills of inmates before they are released through targeted counseling programs—which was among the topics discussed at a White House roundtable earlier this month on strengthening prisoner reentry.

A complete copy of the study can be downloaded here.

One thought on “Employers Want Guarantees Before Hiring the Formerly Incarcerated: Study

  1. With the mast majority of released offenders being arrested, prosecuted or reincarcerated, there are no guarantees in community supervision. We have been discussing certificates of rehabilitation for decades and to my knowledge, none are being issued. There needs to be a national study or conference as to how we can do better as to programs and employment efforts. Currently, we are failing everyone. Best, Len.

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