Employ the Formerly Incarcerated

  • Employment is critical for helping formerly incarcerated individuals realize they have a chance for change. 

  • Employ a Formerly Incarcerated Person.  This includes people who have been in jail or prison, or are otherwise involved in the criminal justice system.  There are many youth, men and women under court supervision who need employment and community service opportunities.  
  • Employers can depend on many formerly incarcerated people to be reliable, because they have to be at work.  Many people with a criminal history are often very skilled and work hard to prove themselves when someone is willing to give them a chance.  Many are required, as a contingency of their release, to maintain gainful employment.  
  • There are benefits to employers who hire people with a criminal history.  Employers are eligible for a tax credit of 40% of the first $6,000 wages paid to the employee—a savings of $2,400.  The State Department of Corrections can also help the employer protect his company by providing bonding of up to $25,000 for an ex-offender, in case of any loss or damage caused by the employee.

Statistics
  • When you are convicted of a crime, your chances of future employment are cut in half.  
  • Nationally, 40% of inmates return to prison.
What You Can Do

  • Things that are given FREE have no value.  Find a way to create a micro-economy to pull people out of poverty and welfare.  Many of the poor have a list of reasons they cannot work; and they have neither faith nor confidence in themselves, leaving little desire to try.  Build a relationship with a person, build his confidence, and give him a loan to learn a skill or create his own business.  As he pays back the loan, that money can be given to another person to learn a skill or start a business.  Then, be willing to employ him.   Research shows that the two most important elements an individual needs to keep from returning to jail are a job and a strong family connection.

  • Consider Brenda's story -  Only 4% of former inmates who work for Brenda Palms Barber return to prison.  (Nationally, 40% of inmates return to prison.)  In 2005, she began hiring former inmates to turn them into beekeepers.  Palms Barber helps them gain work experience so they can start building a resume, as she builds an unlikely business on the mean streets of Chicago.

    "There are lots of weeds
    on the West Side, and there are weeds that produce nectar," she said.  "In fact, they produce some beautiful delicious honey as well.  It isn't about what we see as a flower or a weed, it's just drawing the good out of that plant source (or out of that former inmate) and transforming it into something that is sweet and good," said Palms Barber.

    In 2005, Sweet Beginnings began
    with $140,000 in seed money from the Illinois Department of Corrections.  It now sells honey and skincare products under the name of Bee Love in supermarkets, hotels and airports. The company expects sales of $300,000 this year.

    But Palms Barber measures success differently. 
    Nationally, 40 percent of inmates return to prison.  Only 4 percent of her workers do.   "Former convicts in Chicago find work -- with honeybees," Dan Dahler, reporting for CBS Evening News, August 15, 2013

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Entry Level Jobs

(Jobs in all States)
Entry level jobs generally require little-to-no previous experience to gain employment.
http://www.entryleveljobs.net/