By Jhaneel Lockhart
A criminal record is usually not the kind of qualification most employers have in mind when looking for new hires.
But some managers know that formerly incarcerated employees can add value to their companies.
Mark Peters, CEO of Butterball Farms, Inc., a national supplier of specialty butters, regularly hires former prisoners and says companies should consider giving these workers a chance.
He's launching a study and wants other companies to participate in it to examine the benefits and challenges of those who have spent time behind bars, according to WWMT Newschannel 3.
While many employers remain skeptical about hiring ex-offenders, others extol the benefits of adding these members to your staff. Here are four reasons, in addition to the social benefit, why you should consider rehabilitated offenders.
- They'll be looking out for you since you looked out for them.
Since most people who have spent time in prison find it difficult to get jobs and re-enter society, they'll likely be extremely grateful and loyal to any employer who gives them a chance.
“There's plenty of people I can hire that don't care if they work for me or the guy down the street,” said Peters. “I'd rather have somebody who's really engaged and helping my organization be successful. So if I help someone else be successful, they're a lot more interested in helping me be successful.”
- The training they received in prison may be transferable to your job.
Many people who spend time behind bars are able to receive vocational training and participate in certification programs for GEDs and college degrees, which can help prepare them for employment and provide valuable skills that transfer across fields. It might also mean they are familiar with discipline and hard work.
- They'll stay with you longer.
People who have been incarcerated greatly value their jobs when they get hired, according to the Travis County Offender Workforce Development Program in Texas. Their website says, "The ex-offenders in our program have demonstrated a commitment to leading an honest and responsible life. Finding employment is not easy for them--once hired they are not likely to quit--they are highly motivated to become long-term employees."
- There could be tax incentives for employers.
Business who hire ex-felons within one year after they are convicted or released from prison may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which gives employers a maximum of $2,400 for each adult hired. Read the fact sheet here (PDF) for more information.