Productive recidivists

Over 70% of offenders re-offend within one year!

Why is this?

Most prisoners are locked up for most of the day and not treated well by the officers which surely makes them worse than they were at the start, not better – in these Universities of Crime, they learn to despise authority, not learn a trade for when they’re released and that there’s better ways of living

According to Rod Aldridge, founder of Capita:

  • 66% of people going to prison have no job
  • 75% of people leaving prison have no job to go to
  • And 30% of them don’t even have a place to live

It’s not rocket science to see that, if they have no job, no job experience and nowhere to live, they have a major incentive to go back to offending – what options do they have?

As a result, some enlightened UK companies have set up schemes to train and employ offenders and thus give them a second chance – and they’ve found only 7% of those that take this opportunity re-offend, a huge benefit to society at large

Many other benefits also accrue to the employer organisations involved – Adrienne Selko has just reported in Industry Week about the same initiative taken in the USA

Nehemiah Manufacturing’s workforce comprises former felons, returning citizens as they are called, who are creating great results for the company

Richard Palmer, president of the company, wanted to provide jobs for people in Cincinnati who were unable to find them – the company’s mission is to rebuild the city of Cincinnati by giving people jobs and a “renewed hope for the future”

When he opened the doors, one of the first people who came to him looking for a job was a former felon – Palmer hired him immediately – it worked out so well that currently 90% of his workforce comprises returning citizens – and one important way they show they are welcome is to stop asking them about their past – they delay criminal background checks until later so that potential candidates are not immediately dismissed.

Palmer says: “The loyalty of these workers and their productivity is just amazing – it’s been a great business decision with a high rate of retention, which is especially important given the labour shortage:

  • They’re some of the hardest working people we’ve ever seen
  • In proving themselves, these employees become fiercely loyal, insistent on high quality, positive teamers who help each other, hard chargers who self-sacrifice for the success of all”

Offering second chance opportunities to returning citizens has now been going on for years in the USA – and with almost 700,000 people released from prison each year, it’s a very large pool of workers to fish in

Conclusions:

  • Clearly the upsides here are significant not only for employers and returning citizens involved but also society in general
  • The downside concern is the relatively small % of ‘no-hoper’ felons who have a long record of stealing or worse – if this is not known upfront, they may well abuse such altruism and spoil matters for all others

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