Once released from the criminal justice system, ex-offenders face a difficult process to re-enter in society. The hardest obstacle to start building a new life is to get a legitimate paying work. Many employers have a strong resistance to hire prison inmates because they fear of recidivism. Below we reveal two success stories.
Photo source: bbc
There are employers who discover a win-win situation from hiring ex-offenders. For example, John Shegerian, the Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International, has employed hundreds of ex-convicts in the past 20 years. According to him and other employers there are some great benefits of hiring a prison inmate.
Here are some:
1. Because they face limited possibilities to get hired, many ex-offenders have a strong motivation to work. They know a second chance is hard to get, so they appreciate it when it comes.
2. Their motivation can be a model for other employees.
3. Many of these people may have very good skills which they used to break the law. The wise part is to help them transfer their skills in legitimate business.
4. They can have special qualifications for a job, if they have participated in training programs in prison.
5. Ex-offenders integration is a real benefit for the entire community. A prison inmate costs every taxpayer citizen. Furthermore, it was proven that those who find a job, are 50% less likely to re-offend. Taking this facts into account, a business that supports this kind of social improvement can gain great visibility and appreciation.
6. Many countries offer a good income tax credit, or other incentives, for businesses that employ ex-offenders.
According to a study made by the Carnegie Mellon researchers, after five years of clean criminal record, an ex-convict is the same as someone who has never committed a crime. Experiences and stories of real people support the validity of the research.
Email a Prisoner: A success story
Derek Jones, now 41, had his first troubles with police when he was 11 years old. Until the age of 21 he passed through many custodies, around 15 times. The bad entourage and the unbalanced family life helped him to become a professional in car theft and burglary. During his youth, Derek experienced many times life in youth offender units and he was imprisoned in a detention center too. He confessed that during those times he simply didn’t care what his victims were feeling.
Photo source: fmwf
Derek Jones’s life took a twist in 2003 while his case was remanded for six months. While he was feeling awful due to problems communicating with friends and family outside the detention center he had an idea. Email was the most convenient way to communicate from prison as long as the interlocutor outside would bare the entire cost.
With his idea in mind, after his release, Derek made great efforts to accomplish his dream. It took two years to put Email a Prisoner business on ground. Today more than 150 UK prisons are signed up to the service. The company recently expanded into the Netherlands.
This year Derek Jones has sold the company to Unilink Software, for a six-figure amount, but he remains the Chief Executive Officer.
Now, Derek Jones is involved in a new venture, a virtual academy that helps ex-offenders to seek employment, or self-employment opportunities.
Although many ex-offenders acquire specific behavior that ensured their survival in prison, it seems that with a strong will and help many of them can overcome this stage. What is your opinion about hiring ex-offenders?
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