Improve the chance of finding work after prison by starting behind bars
It’s been less than a year since President Trump signed the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, into law. But this month, Trump publicly announced a new, equally audacious goal for his administration: reducing the unemployment rate of formerly incarcerated individuals to single digits within the next five years. “Too often, former inmates are not considered for jobs even if they’re qualified, rehabilitated, and ready to work,” Trump said. “And that’s why we’re taking crucial steps to encourage business[es] to expand second chance hiring practices.”
The Bureau of Prisons recently announced “Ready to Work” initiative is one of those steps. The goal of this new initiative is to connect employers to individuals re-entering society who are seeking employment. While this is a noteworthy start, dramatically reducing the unemployment rateamong the formerly incarcerated — which at times has been higher than that experienced by Americans during the Great Depression — will take even earlier intervention.