Over 600,000 people transition out of state and federal prisons each year—and more than half can’t find work within a year of reentering the community. Employment is key to reducing recidivism, but people with felony convictions face countless barriers, from state policies to employer bias.
JFF and our partners are leading a campaign to flip the narrative about people with criminal records and encourage employers to give them a fair chance in hiring. This means looking beyond an individual’s past mistakes to their present skills and their potential to learn.
In order to prepare for work and other responsibilities that come with reentering society, people with criminal records also need a holistic system of support services that starts while they’re still behind bars and continues after their release. Providing basic necessities, such as food, clothing, state identification, and transportation, surely helps. Many people also need ongoing mental health treatment and other health care services.
JFF is committed to researching best practices to help many more people reenter their communities—and to advocate for fair-chance hiring and the support services that are essential to their success.
Freedom to Achieve: Pathways and Practices for Economic Advancement After Incarceration
We must match the breadth and scale of the investments that support U.S. systems of incarceration by investing in a comprehensive and scalable approach to workforce development that connects people with jobs and equips them for long-term careers.
Making the Case for Fair-Chance Hiring Blog Series
This is our regular series on fair-chance hiring for individuals returning to society from incarceration. Check back for the latest from our reentry team!
When Practice Isn’t Enough: Why Fair Chance Hiring Requires Policy Change
To build a truly equitable and antiracist economic recovery, fair chance hiring practices need to be more than just a matter of employer preference. Policy changes, at the state and federal levels, are a critical step in creating opportunities for people with criminal records, and growth for the national economy.