Hiring Ex-offenders

This entry is a selection from a current event log created in the spring semester of 2016. The log was an assignment for an international business class and discusses a recent article (or articles) concerning international business practices as well as tying it into what we were currently covering in class. With this information, keep in mind this analysis is dated.

February 4, 2016 – The Guardian –Autumn Spanne — Internet

Can hiring ex-offenders make a business more profitable?

An article written by Autumn Spanne and appearing in “The Guardian,” titled “Can hiring ex-offenders make a business more profitable” takes the story of a previously jailed man’s acceptance into the workforce and points to benefits of a growing trend of second chances. Butterball farms, located in Michigan, is a company that hires ex-offenders, and seeing a return of hard work due to gratitude, campaigns for other companies to also accept criminal record holders. The problem many industries and individuals are advocating against is that having a criminal conviction disclaimer on an application often does not give ex-offenders a fair chance of employment. Many who support the call to “ban the box,” including over 100 cities and 19 states, would prefer to give opportunity for explanation in a later interview. In November of 2015, Obama ordered the ban on all federal applications.

In addition to workers determined to overcome their records by proving their worth with work, society, and the economy, the business world serves to profit by inclusion of the large group of employable ex-criminals. There are many restrictions on rights to those currently or previously incarcerated as consequences, many of which relate to employment. In the first week of February 2016, there was a call for bigger and better efforts regarding reentering of released offenders into society, perhaps in part since there is a large average of time before employment and because many unemployed persons statistically stand the chance of finding themselves again behind bars. While hiring ex-offenders should be evaluated carefully individually, good workers can and will be found, and the employee turnover has been seen to be much lower than that of noncriminal employees.

Ethics, human rights, and employment practices among other things can be discussed with relation to this current event article. This case covers an issue that seems to be growing in America, especially since Butterball Farms is advocating this change and encouraging initiatives for other businesses to follow. They are seeking to be an example that shows and warms other companies up to being more accepting of a certain population of people. This is not solely an American grasp for more human rights, though, as companies in Singapore have been shown to be pursuing the same employment practices in the same manner starting at least since 2014. There ex-inmates are receiving more job opportunities as well as higher pay, as reported by Asia One. BBC even covered a story of a Singapore man, who by November of 2014 opened his own restaurant and gave jobs to ex-offenders like himself.

This stretch for more employment to ex-offenders is small, but increasing. With it there is an ethical dilemma, as some businesses offer employment chances, seeing it as a good and right thing to do, but many companies have always been skeptical. This skepticism does not have to be limited to the possibility of hiring someone potentially threatening but can extend to the question of what is deserved. Is it fair to give back rights to people who did something bad enough to lose many human or citizenship rights, such as voting in America? However, is restricting employment so tightly the best way to punish them? There are statistics that prove that lack of income and time-consuming work only hurts ex-criminals and the government with the desperation to revisit actions that again label one a criminal. Singapore and America both are countries whose societies judge more based on one’s ability and accomplishments rather than social stigmas or power symbols. Perhaps that is a reason these two have stepped up before other countries in giving once incarcerated people a second chance to work for the right kind of life.

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