Let's Talk Business: Hiring Ex-Offenders

Apr 2, 2017

There are more than 31,000 people serving time in Missouri state correctional facilities. 97% of them will one day be released. What happens next?

Here’s a staggering statistic about the population of individuals who leave prison and reenter society: Of those who do not gain full-time employment, 72% return to prison within two years. Of those who DO gain full-time employment, only 27% return to prison within two years. This is incredible…full-time employment plays a major role in whether or not an individual returns to prison.

This is a dangerous and expensive problem.  But here’s where I think things get interesting. I hear every single day from employers that they can’t find the workers they need. With low unemployment rates, it’s important for us to start exploring other ways of finding workers and hiring ex-offenders is one possible solution.

Fully 80% of prison admissions are for non-violent offenses, meaning many of these individuals pose no greater risk than any other employee. In fact, most ex-offenders are still under some sort of State supervision through the Department of Corrections, so they are compelled to show up and behave. It could be a win-win and I encourage any business that is having hiring challenges to explore this option.

Here’s your brief business update: We are cutting the ribbon this week for the Center for Diabetes and Wellness in Doctor’s Park and also for On Point Properties, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm. We will be celebrating the opening of Jim Drury Way, the road at the new Cape Sports Plex. Finally, the new coffee shop, Baristas, is now open in the Marquette on Broadway.