Do Any Companies Emphasize Hiring Formerly Incarcerated People?

Do Any Companies Emphasize Hiring Formerly Incarcerated People?

There are many companies that look to hire formerly incarcerated people. Some make a point of it. Other companies may not ask about your criminal record as policy. But even companies that hire justice-impacted people sometimes still check your criminal record.

Where can you look for a job if you have a record?

There are several different resources to help you look for a job. Help For Felons has lists of different organizations open to hiring justice-impacted people. The website also gives different education and career tools to help you. Another way to find companies that hire justice-impacted people is through an internet search. A lot of big companies make it a point to hire justice-impacted individuals.

What does “Ban the Box” do?

Ban the Box” is a campaign for fair employment and justice-impacted people. It asks companies to remove questions about criminal history when they are hiring. The campaign also wants to delay background checks until later in the hiring process. However, it does not ask that employers do not check your criminal record. Therefore, companies that have a ban-the-box-style policy may not ignore your criminal record.

Ban the Box has become more popular in recent years. The campaign has a list of organizations that follow their guidelines. Currently 36 states and 150 localities have ban the box laws for public sector jobs. Of those, 14 states and 20 cities use ban the box laws in the private sector.

The U.S. government also follows ban-the-box policies. In December 2021, the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 will begin. The Act stops most federal agencies from asking about a criminal record until you are employed. So, there are both public and private jobs you can apply for without revealing your criminal record right away.

Some companies go out of their way to hire formerly incarcerated people.
Image courtesy of grinvalds via

Are there programs to help with reentry?

There are some employment programs made only for justice-impacted individuals in prison. These programs begin during incarceration. Reentry programs help you get certain skills, financial stability, or education. They can help you prepare for work and find a job after release. You can ask prison officials how to get into those programs.

What should you do when asked about your criminal record?

You probably want to be honest about your criminal record. Not disclosing your record when they ask may work against you. In fact, some probation rules may require you to disclose your record to employers. If you are unsure, check with your probation officer. This information will likely come up in a background check. Therefore, there isn’t much of a point in hiding it.

The Takeaway:

There are companies that make efforts to hire formerly incarcerated people. Others simply won’t ask. Some states and localities have banned asking about your record on a job application. There are also organizations set up to help justice-impacted people find a job. You can start preparing for work while you are incarcerated through reentry programs. Some companies won’t ask about your criminal record. But if they do, you probably want to be honest about it. If you are on probation, your conditions may even require you to do so.

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