Recently incarcerated individuals face numerous challenges outside of jail and prison. Coming back into a community with immediate mental health needs, often a lack family support, and even probation concerns after months or years inside an institution is a challenge itself. Add to that the rejections when trying to find even basic employment, and the alternative to being released may, unfortunately, look like a better option.

Obviously, employers have reservations, and some jobs may not be possible due to natures of a crime. But for the majority of crimes, there may be hope in bringing employers and ex-offenders together.

Bonding programs exist for returning citizens to provide up to $5,000 to employers in the form of a fidelity bond. Many states utilize workforce development funding to provide tax credits as an incentive for employers to hire ex-offenders.

Employers have even reported benefits from hiring workers after release. Johns Hopkins Hospital undertook a program to vet and hire ex-offenders. Their study revealed a lower rate of turnover in five years of almost 500 returning citizens hired vs. a similar group without an incarceration background.

Turnover is typically less in this population.

Loyalty is usually higher with this population.

The obvious benefit is to taxpayers and the criminal justice system. The National institute of Corrections finds that about 85% of formerly incarcerated re-arrested individuals are unemployed. The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is nearly five times higher than the unemployment rate for the general United States population, according to the Prison Policy Institute, and substantially higher than even the worst years of the Great Depression. But recidivism rates are cut in half when someone has a full-time job.

Imagine how many dollars could be saved because of keeping half of those released from being returned to prison, not to mention the increase of tax revenue from payroll taxes. I like to think it also solves an issue with not having enough employees, an issue that messes with business processes, product availability, customer service, scalability and growth, business well-being, and more.

aha! Process offers a live online workshop that focuses on employee retention and growth with entry-level, lower wage employees. Workplace Stability will be offered October 28. Getting Ahead allows those incarcerated to investigate their lives and what they want to do in the future to be stable, thriving, and contributing to society.  Getting Ahead While Getting Out Certified Facilitator Training is offered October 14.