Tuesday, July 12, 2005
ex-felon employment and expungement
The crimprof blog cites the LA Times on ex-offender job fairs. Such fairs are being organized all over the country, with mixed results. In this case and in some others I've seen, few employers or ex-offenders even showed up. Those who did attend, got good news (employers could get tax credits for hiring someone with a criminal record) and bad (many ex-offenders are ineligible for expungement). Such job fairs seem to be most successful in tight labor markets (e.g., 1999-2000 in most areas). On the employee side, turnout might improve by targeting current probationers or parolees, rather than former offenders who are "off-paper" and more difficult to mobilize. Mobilizing employers is more difficult, unless they face a labor shortage or former felons (potential "sponsors") have a good track record in the firm or establishment. There are books and videos available for ex-offenders and organizations such as Chicago's Safer Foundation have a long history of successful job development and placement for this group. Still, I tend to agree with Richard Freeman -- the best jobs program is probably a full-employment economy.