“Having a second chance makes you want to work even harder” – Tia Mowry
It is a common misunderstanding that consumer reporting agencies are another limb of the prison-industrial complex. We do not apply feelings or opinions to our reports; instead, we provide our clients with the ability to make knowledgeable decisions. We work with many clients that will only work with people that have convictions on their records, not just zero-tolerance companies. It is estimated that 1 out of every 3 people has had a conviction in their lifetime. That is a staggering amount of people to not consider.
When hiring an individual, it is imperative to consider the following: the role they have applied for, if they have records, the nature of the conviction as well as the length of time since being convicted. The human brain has been proven by neuroscientists to continue to develop into our mid-twenties. The part of the brain that continues to develop into your mid-twenties is the prefrontal cortex which processes the planning of behavior as well as controlling your impulses. Crimes have been statistically proven to be higher in individuals under thirty. Poverty and unstable homes play a hand in contributing to the underdevelopment of this part of the brain.
There are resources available to assist in the hiring of convicted felons. The Federal Work Opportunity tax credit is awarded to a business that hires convicted felons within a year from when they are released from prison. This credit can range from $2,400 – $9,600. They also award this tax credit to businesses that hire people on food stamps as well. The federal government also offers a bonding program, to aid in the return of an “at-risk” employee into the workforce. They mainly provide insurance to cover issues such as theft or forgery. They provide a piece of mind for those with concerns.
While nobody likes to discuss the dark chapters of their lives, having a consumer reporting agency like Research Services provide a background check on an applicant that has committed a crime, provides transparency in the details of their crimes. It presents you with the ability to have a conversation that allows applicants the opportunity to discuss the nature of their convictions. Does their crime pose a risk to the job they have applied for? Has it been several years since they committed the crime, and have they avoided any further issues with the law since? Being familiar with the specifics of the Civil Rights Act is prudent. For instance, it prohibits an employer from treating two individuals with comparable records unequally.
People deserve second chances, regardless of their criminal record or past. It is possible for people who have committed crimes to be successful, safe, and reliable employees given the opportunity. Thankfully, there are resources available through the federal government that can provide financial assistance to businesses that hire convicted felons, as well as provide policies to give employers peace of mind. By generating conversation regarding a past record, employers can allow applicants the opportunity to exhibit they have changed while bridging the gap between former inmates and society. It is in our nature to have a purpose, help someone have purpose today.