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Philadelphia to Bribe Employers: $10,000 If You Hire an Ex-Con

Philadelphia is going to give employers $10,000 for each ex-con they hire. City officials hope that a shot of cash will encourage employers to give those who have made mistakes a second chance, jumpstart crime prevention, and ultimately save the city money.

Each inmate costs Philly $30,000 per year. Considering that approximately two out out three released prisoners are arrested again within three years, this seems like a foolproof investment. I just wonder whether the money is enough to help employers get over the perceived risk of hiring an ex-con.

While some states are making it harder for certain criminals to reintegrate into society, it's exciting to see new solutions offered to address the country's record high prison population. Even so, I will be eager to see some follow-up statistics to figure out if subsidized ex-cons re-offend anyways.

Does it bother you that people who have broken the rules get an advantage over law abiding job applicants? Are there other ways to reduce the stigma and help reduce recidivism?


Join The Conversation
righteous100 righteous100 8 years
I think it is a good idea to promote hiring exoffenders, they need jobs,housing like anyone else. their girlfriend or relatives should not have to take care of them. Society can't afford to take care of them on whole. a excon can be re arrested for breaking any rule it doesn't have to be criminal. Not having a job could be a reason to be sent back to jail.
janneth janneth 9 years
I think it is a great idea. Now what about the military option. I wonder what I would think if I was in the army.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
this makes me think of "The Office"
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Well I guess its a start? :?
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
I've always thought that military service would be a good option for some of the less serious criminals; I know a few people who have said it saved them from going down that path. I believe we offered that option during World War II. Alternatively, we can teach them to dance:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I'm curious about the line in the article that reads "approximately two out of three released prisoners are arrested again within three years". Wouldn't logic have it that if we invest in rehabilitation not rather than, but in conjunction with punishment that this number would greatly diminish. I've always enjoyed observing the collective intellect of different societies and it is very apparent that witch respect to this issue we are expanding our intellect.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I think second chances are important and are not given as much as they should be. This "bribe" might be a little extreme but it's a step in the right direction. Our prisons are filled mostly with drug offenders. Some have commited other crimes as a result of drugs, but drugs are the bottom line problem. Since we barely offer any help or tools to them once they get out (job skills or life skills) getting a job can be VERY hard, so they go back to the only life they know. Getting a decent job can be the one thing that keeps them off the streets. I know from personal experience. I never went to prison, but did do some jail time, went to a rehab and then did everything I needed to, to get the felonies off my record. I thought that everything was good to go. last week I applied to volunteer with an organization that helps kids in not so great home lives and I got turned down because they saw my felonies. Nevermind that the paperwork says Charges Dismissed. Nevermind that for the last 6 years I've worked on making myself a better person, held down the same job for 4 years, and am applying to help children that are going through the SAME things I did. Yea I would be horrible at that. It sucks when you work SO hard to better yourself and people judge you for mistakes you made in your past. Ex Cons and such are being punished Long after they're released from jails and prisons. Society has a hard time letting them back in.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I think offering the option of joining the army to get out of jail (not for all crimes of course) is great. It gives them training, and money for college. I also think they should be able to join any branch they want, not just the Army.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
Interesting subtleheights... they are kind of leaning that way?
subtleheights subtleheights 9 years
I say train them for the army.make it automatic when one does a crime he is as good for the army as in any other place. that shoudl take care of some of that burden. the army should not discriminate. they need men.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
well, court documents are usually public record, right? you could definitely find out what the person did, and the circumstances of their conviction. but as far as estimating their character, that's a tough call to make without recommendation from authorities that the person has reformed. Better yet, an explanation from the individual themselves.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'd like to know what the ex-con was sent to prison for. If it's armed burglary, then I wouldn't take the money. If it was something less, I'd consider it. IF it was something like fraud or embezzlement, the "new employee" wouldn't be working with money.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
you have a lot of great points yesteryear, btw.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i guess what I'm wondering is if employers have permission to discuss the situation with the ex-con they are interviewing. Do they get a recommendation from a parole officer, or anyone involved in the case?
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
this is nothing new. i mean, the $10k is a lot... but there are tons of federal programs (the workforce development program, for one) that give businesses free consulting and staffing assistance in exchange for them hiring welfare-to-work and/or local yokels who may not be as qualified as someone coming on the scene with a degree and more experience. no, these are not criminals i'm talking about... but it's still an example of government engineering the hiring process. when you think about how many of our tax dollars go to pay to keep these people locked up, i don't see the problem with this. in this situation, the government pays out one time and hopefully, with the right training and transition programs the ex-cons will become contributing members of society. the businesses give back to the communities through sales and property tax, and hopefully the ex-cons will take their earnings and spend them in local businesses, further investing in the local economy. it's a long-range solution to an immediate problem... but i don't really see the alternative. let these guys out on the street to do what they have to in order to get themselves back in 'the game', and i'm guessing many of them will go right back to their old ways. at least this gives them an opportunity to choose a new path.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I'm not a big fan of this idea. Actually, I think it's rather idiotic. I'd have to hear more about it, details about how and who they hire, qualifications, type of crime etc.. but at face value, I don't like it.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Also, I feel the ex-con has to be AS qualified as the regular citizen.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I am with Kris. I am also torn on if it is fair to the average citizen. Yes the cost benefit is there tax wise, but if it keeps citizens who have never committed a crime out of work, doesn't that just move them into a much more likely group of people who will begin to commit crimes? And their children?
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
and what if a shady employer hires the ex-con just to get the $10K? Then fires them saying that it wasn't working out. Or what if that shady employer hires their ex-con buddy and they go into shady business together? clearly I'm thinking very negatively about this. I know there are ex-cons out there who deserve a fresh start. If it were me though, I'd have millions of questions about that person, which would probably lead to some reservations.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
this seems to place a huge burden on the employer to determine whether the ex con interviewing in front of them is rehabilitated or not. do they get to ask questions about the nature of the crime? about how the person has changed? $10k is definitely a great bonus, unless the ex-con really hasn't reformed and plans to swindle them out of $100k. unless the businesses are provided details about the nature of the crime and how that person has changed, seen the light, whatever, that seems like a big risk! of course there are people out there who deserve a chance at a fresh start, so you want to give it to them. it just seems like a big risk at face value, with no other information other than that the person is an ex-con and now they're out of prison. did they just finish their sentence, or did they really make a positive change in their life?
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
last time the government gave me $10k to deal with an ex-con all i got was a wire taped to my back and 12 years in the witness protection program.
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