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Changing The Employer's Perspective

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

In Minnesota, the state wants to see former inmates get work, for a few obvious reasons.

"Adults involved in the criminal justice system are more likely to desist from crime when they achieve employment, particularly when that employment pays relatively well and provides favorable working conditions," according to a Minnesota Department of Corrections study from 2017.

Or more simply: "If they have a decent-paying job, they don't go back to prison."

That's how Glory Mitchell puts it. She's a Duluth-based offender specialist with the Department of Employment and Economic Development who works with prisoners and the recently incarcerated to prepare folks for the workforce.

"It's about getting them to buy into the fact they've served their time, and it is in society's and taxpayers' best interest they get a job," she said.

"Although employers express willingness to hire people with criminal records, evidence shows that having a record reduces employer callback rates by 50 percent," reads a Prison Policy Initiative report.

Without any change from employers, that means those job-seekers have to work twice as hard.

"Our economy can't afford to continue to embrace the false and unforgiving dichotomy of 'criminal' and 'clean,'" Baxter said. "Minnesota employers are recognizing the pool of previously untapped talent, innovation, creativity, tenacity, loyalty and smarts in justice-impacted people."

In addition, employers can earn up to a $9,600 federal tax credit per worker for hiring certain groups of people who experience chronically high unemployment — including veterans and those with recent felony convictions — through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).

Have you thought about hiring from this pool of people? It might be advantageous for your company to look into the options and then confer with a WOTC specialist, like Swain Consulting, LLC. (www.swainconsultingllc.ccom)



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