On April 11, major companies including Facebook, Uber, Starbucks, The Hershey Company and Coca-Cola have pledged to help released inmates find jobs by changing their approach to job applications. This pledge is a significant step in reforming our broken system of justice.
One of the major contributing causes of our high recidivism rate is the lack of jobs for released inmates. In 2015, the Manhattan Institute released a study showing that immediate employment for released inmates reduces recidivism. Employment applications have always requested information about an applicant’s criminal record. A disclosure of a criminal record on the job application eliminated usually any chance for a job interview.
The director of the Justice Program at New York University’s Brennan Center, told NBC News that, “white job applicants are 50 percent less likely to be offered an interview if they have a criminal record, while African-Americans are 64 percent less likely.”
The White House stated, companies joining “The Fair Chance Business Pledge,” have agreed to delay questions about a job applicant’s criminal record until it can be “considered in context.” This government-speak means simply that all of the applicant’s record can be disclosed at the job interview. The job applicant, at the interview, would have an opportunity to explain his record, life experiences, and what he or she can offer the company.
Fred Patrick, director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections stated, “It’s huge… Some of these companies may have been quietly hiring formerly incarcerated individuals. But to be public about it? That’s what’s important.”
The banning of the box ( criminal record) on job applications is another step towards the reformation of our broken system of justice.
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com