The job market hasn’t been kind to millions of Americans in the last few years but it has generally gotten a little bit better over that time. Unemployment is falling on a national basis, but one group will likely to continue to struggle to find work no matter how good the economy is: Those with criminal records.
Most employers make a point to ask job applicants if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime, and many use that as a way to disqualify those people sight unseen, according to a report from The Week. However, some experts are now starting to wonder if hiring ex-cons might be a good idea, because a small but growing number of these independent companies are starting to bring on such workers, and seeing positive results as a consequence.
Why might this be helpful?
For one thing, owners who are concerned about their companies’ bottom lines might see an immediate benefit in the form of tax incentives, which are extended to all businesses that hire people within a year of their being released from prison, the report said. In addition, giving ex-convicts steady work is a proven way to help keep them from re-offending, and with more than 650,000 people being released from prison each year, greater efforts to give these people a reason not to commit more crimes could go a long way for the community.
Moreover, though, owners who take the chance on these workers often end up finding that they’re industrious and effective in their jobs, the report said. Many simply need to be given the chance to succeed, and will seize upon it eagerly.
“Overall the ex-felons’ performance rating is slightly higher than non-felons,” said John Tucker, CEO of the organic bakery Dave’s Killer Bread, a company which has made a point to hire convicted criminals, according to the publication. “Most people think it’s the opposite: that the ex-felons are a challenge, are difficult. That is simply not the case.”
However, before undertaking any kind of hiring, it might be wise for entrepreneurs to think about the ways in which they can improve their companies’ bottom lines overall. That might include finding more affordable small business insurance, including policies for liability insurance, to potentially save thousands of dollars each year, which can then be used to improve other parts of the company.