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How employers can help formerly incarcerated people launch a new chapter in life

All of us have made mistakes in life, and some of us have made a mistake that resulted in a criminal record. Many formerly incarcerated people find it very difficult to land any job at all, especially when their criminal record is still relatively fresh.

In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, we’ll look at why helping people with criminal records regain traction in life is beneficial to them as well as society at large, and how employers can successfully tap into this huge talent pool.

Our recently released Global Employee Benefits Trends Report 2022 also contains valuable insights on helping formerly incarcerated employees unleash their potential in the section on fairness and equality in the workplace, so download your free copy today for all the details!

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How we all benefit when formerly incarcerated people successfully reintegrate into society

Just because somebody is unfortunate enough to have committed a crime at a moment of personal weakness doesn’t mean they are not talented. When people with a criminal record find it hard to rebuild a healthy life around work, not only are they more likely to become repeat offenders due to despair, but society as a whole also loses out on the skills and talents of this great pool of people (in the US alone, over 70 million people have some type of criminal record), not to mention the added burden on society when these people end up living on the dole for years or, even worse, rebuilding a life around crimes.

The benefits of having people with criminal records rejoin the labor force are particularly obvious these days – in the US for example, there are over 10 million job openings but only around 6 million unemployed workers. In the post-pandemic world, tapping into the great talent pool of formerly incarcerated people may well be the key to restarting the economic engine in the US and many other countries.

For employers who are worried about how existing employees will respond when they find out their new colleague has a criminal record, we want to point out that a recent survey has revealed that a majority of US respondents would be proud to work for an employer that gives these people a second chance.

So how should businesses go about it?

To be successful in this new initiative, employers must first understand the difficulties commonly faced by people with criminal records and the special circumstances in selecting the right candidates. Failing that, the experience of employing these people may not be as desirable.

To begin with, it will be more challenging to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of these candidates, because many of them will not have past projects to speak about or previous employers to provide references for. Furthermore, oftentimes the details of a criminal record can be misleading on how a candidate will turn out: minor property or drug offenders have higher recidivism rates, often because they are struggling with addiction. By contrast, people who have spent decades behind bars for a violent crime often have grown and mellowed.

Fortunately, employers can turn to a variety of sources for an initial fit assessment, examples include:

  • In-prison training programs
  • Second-chance staffing agencies
  • Work-release employment
  • Government partners

Where inmates can take educational courses, how they performed in their studies is another useful gauge of their fit for a new role.

Employers must also understand that many formerly incarcerated people need more time flexibility than the rest of us, for example, to meet their parole officer regularly. Employers who truly think long-term, however, would provide social workers, psychologists, or life coaches to help their formerly incarcerated employees (and other employees too) set and achieve small goals, which gradually add up to something big. One effective way to help these people is to let them know that they are immeasurably better than their worst mistake.

Get in touch with Pacific Prime Latin America today!

If you are considering securing corporate insurance or group health insurance for your organization, Pacific Prime Latin America is your best partner!

You’ve worked hard to get your business to where it is today, and you don’t want an accident to destroy the fruits of your labor. But that’s exactly what an accident or disaster can do to your business: send it back to square one.

A business must first survive before it can thrive. You are the true expert in running your business and that’s why you’re at the helm, so why not let the true experts in insurance take care of its insurance needs?

With more than 20 years of experience under our belt, Pacific Prime can surely apply our expertise in all matters related to insurance to provide impartial advice that only a leading global insurance brokerage can, so that your business gets the most suitable policies that also fit your budget, all at no extra cost to you!

Get in touch with us to discuss your insurance needs, or get a FREE, no-obligation quote today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Latin America
Martin is a writer and translator with over 10 years of experience. He writes articles and blog posts, creates infographics and videos, translates between Chinese and English, and more. Skilled at explaining complicated concepts in layman’s terms, Martin believes the gold standard of translation is attained when the translated text is not only accurate, but also reads like an original text. Martin holds a degree in Economics from the University of London, UK.

Since joining Pacific Prime, Martin has become even more aware of the gap between the true value of insurance products and most people’s appreciation of it, and developed a passion for demystifying and simplifying matters, so that more people get the protection they need at a cost they can easily afford.

In his free time, Martin attends concerts of various genres, and plays the violin with piano accompaniment he pre-recorded himself or played live by his niece.
Martin Lee