We’d all love to live in a world where our past mistakes have been forgotten – or erased. For former inmates, nowhere is this more true than when looking for job opportunities.
According to the National Employment Law Project, 600,000 people are released from prisons nationwide each year. And the task of rehabilitating, alongside the prospect of making a living outside of a cell, is anything but easy.
Recent studies suggest that 60-75% of those formerly incarcerated remain unemployed for up to a year after their release – these numbers are even worse for formerly incarcerated African Americans. Further, 30% of all nonworking men between the ages of 25-54 had criminal records. One of the most crucial factors for former inmates maintaining crime-free lives is employment – after all, with a job comes purpose, accountability, and financial stability.
That’s why we, along with Triple Pundit, are here to offer support and insight on 5 California-based companies that understand the importance of employment for former inmates, and emphasize hiring and promoting transitioning individuals.
This e-waste recycling company’s mission is simple: to keep old electronics out of landfills, create long-term green jobs and reduce Los Angeles’ high recidivism rate by hiring formerly incarcerated Angelenos.
Dave’s Killer Bread might be known for their health-conscious and best-selling organic loaves, but one in three of its employees is a convicted felon. Through a partnering enrichment program, the company aims to help employees develop hard and soft skills to enhance the quality of their lives after incarceration.
Social enterprise – and San Francisco favorite for scrumptious delights – paired with stunning Bay Bridge views, Delancey Street Restaurant operates as a training space for residents trying to rebuild their lives after imprisonment.
Since 2009, this organization has built more than 250 edible permaculture gardens in the Bay Area and acts out their motto “Grow food. Grow jobs. Grow community.” They do this by creating multiple green jobs for men transitioning from prison in the food justice movement.
A majority of this advertising agency’s employees are people in recovery from addiction. They are interested in saving souls and marketing, and are obsessed with telling stories about social good.
Ex-inmates who’ve paid their debt to society need employment opportunities not only to gain self-esteem, vocational skills and quality of life, but also to achieve quality of life for those dependent on them like a spouse or child. And research indicates that the more former inmates participate in jobs, the less likely they are to re-offend.
Simply put, more jobs that are friendly to formerly incarcerated people means less crime – and this is something that all Californians can agree is a good thing.