The employability of former criminals faces significant challenges, and their issues have a detrimental effect on society. While the current labor market may offer plenty of job opportunities, they do not provide the economic mobility or stability that this vulnerable population needs to move forward.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit for Former Criminals (WOTC) is a federal program that encourages private-sector businesses to hire ex-felons. The credit can be worth up to $2,400 for each company employee. The distinction is based on the employer’s qualified wages to the ex-felon in their first year of employment.
The program encourages employers to hire people with criminal records on their criminal background check online by providing tax breaks and other incentives. The program helps companies fill a critical gap in the workforce. About 650,000 people re-enter the workforce each year. Unemployment rates among these individuals are more than 40 percent. The stigma and lack of opportunities associated with having a criminal history make it difficult for individuals to find a job.
This program requires private employers to hire ex-offenders for at least six months. They must employ these individuals within a year of their release from prison. As long as the employee stays with the company for at least six months, the credit is worth up to $9,600.
Getting Out And Staying Out
Re-entering society is a difficult challenge for those with a criminal record, but there are new programs that can help people who have been incarcerated get back on a lease. The New York City pilot program, which also operates in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Akron, Ohio, is intended to give these people stability.
A study by the Urban Institute in Baltimore found that offenders who re-enter prison tend to come from high-unemployment neighborhoods with high proportions of families and female heads of households. In addition, they were more likely to live below the poverty level. These factors made finding a job even more difficult for these ex-offenders.
GOSO’s mission is to empower and equip young men who have been through the criminal justice system. The organization connects with its clients while in prison and provides various services. The organization’s staff includes social workers with Master’s degrees.
In-Prison Training Programs
In-prison training programs for former criminal offenders can be a valuable tool for reducing criminal recidivism and improving economic opportunities for inmates. However, education in prison remains limited, and ex-offenders face numerous practical and financial barriers. Nevertheless, inmates and ex-offenders can enhance their lives and economic prospects by earning a degree.
One such program, called Hudson Link, teaches college courses in prisons. The organization has been around for 16 years and has taught courses in five prisons throughout New York State. Its instructors are working professors. The programs are offered free of charge and have the support of private institutions in the upstate region.
However, many students are not interested in attending prison classes, and some skip classes entirely. This is because prison teachers are not required to force their students to attend classes. In addition, many inmates have a talent for using their free time however they want. One student, Vega, who had taken an air-conditioning course, spent most of the time playing cards with the other inmates in the recreation room.
Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders
Employers should not discriminate against ex-offenders based on their criminal history when hiring for a job. They should also delay inquiries about a person’s criminal record until they have interviewed the applicant. In addition, the Title VII law should include a provision against negligent hiring, which would create a rebuttable presumption against the employer’s negligence and cap damages in certain instances.
Discrimination against ex-offenders when obtaining employment has a variety of effects on the health and economic well-being of ex-offenders. It can cause them to return to the criminal world and hinder their successful reintegration into society. This discrimination also has significant societal effects, increasing crime and lost productivity.
While male ex-offenders face fewer obstacles than female ex-offenders in obtaining employment, the discrimination they face is more pronounced in low-skilled jobs. Moreover, gender is a significant factor affecting an ex-offender’s likelihood of receiving a positive response.