Obtaining steady employment is a massive barrier for the more than 650,000 prisoners released in the U.S. every year. Studies have found that more than half of returning citizens did not have steady employment eight months after their release. Unemployment raises the likelihood of someone reoffending. This means that those who are unable to find employment are likely to end up back in prison, thereby continuing a costly and harmful cycle.
Several initiatives have sought to assist returning citizens with finding employment. Many states have 'banned the box' in public sector jobs, meaning that employers cannot ask candidates to disclose their criminal records in their initial application. However, not all states have adopted this policy. States that have banned the box are not immune from rampant discrimination and stigma surrounding returning citizens. The public, and therefore employers, are often uneducated on both the benefits of hiring second chance workers and the truth of stereotypes for those who have been incarcerated.
Clearly, more is needed in order to ensure that returning citizens are able to live fulfilling lives after paying their debt to society.
The ARCH Business Network is a network of employers and business leaders that promote second chance employment and assists persons with criminal records to access jobs. We believe in the power of relationships and the strength of a well educate public. As such, ARCH helps educate, provide resources, and equip business leaders interested in learning more about how to offer employment opportunities to returning citizens.
If you're an employer who would like to join the ARCH Business Network or would like to request more information on how second chance employment could benefit you, please click HERE.