Wednesday, June 6, 2007
When former convicts return to society and try to rebuild their lives, one of the first roadblocks they encounter is going through the hiring process with a prison record. But a statewide initiative called the Missouri Re-entry Process aims to help ex-cons overcome some of those barriers and help them become wage-earning, taxpaying citizens.
The initiative held a job fair in Cape Girardeau, sponsored by the Community Caring Council at the Salvation Army, for ex-convicts. More than 80 participants had an opportunity to meet with counselors and representatives from a dozen prospective employers. The ex-cons also received offers of personalized assistance in creating resumes.
There is an incentive for Missouri employers to hire employees with criminal records: a $2,400 tax credit. But just as important is the fact that individuals who have made mistakes are willing to make the effort to turn their lives around. Being employed is a crucial step in that effort.
Lawbreakers who have paid their debt to society and find jobs are less likely to become repeat offenders. The Missouri Re-entry Process initiative is a win-win-win situation for ex-cons, employers and taxpayers have to pay the costs of incarceration.