"Nearly half of formerly incarcerated people are unemployed one year after leaving prison. That is a moral outrage."
In an August 2021 opinion guest essay in The New York Times, JPMorgan Chase & Company chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon expresses his "moral outrage" for the more than 70 million Americans with an arrest or criminal record that face financial, legal and logistical roadblocks that prevent them from securing good jobs after after they have paid their debt to society. He points to the fact that nearly half of formerly incarcerated people are unemployed one year after leaving prison.
"This group is ready to work and deserves a second chance — an opportunity to fill the millions of job openings across the country. Yet our criminal justice system continues to block them from doing so."
"In part because of these efforts, we hired approximately 2,100 people with a criminal background in 2020 — roughly 10 percent of our new hires in the United States that year."
All across the country, as the economy surges and employers struggle to find enough workers, individuals with felony and other criminal records are finding a sliver of a silver lining in the dark cloud of the pandemic.
State leaders discuss recent transformative policies that offer a model for state and federal policymakers to put second chances within reach for workers and families facing the stigma of a criminal record.
As of May 2021, Stateline found a dozen bills introduced across 10 states this year that push for automatic clearing, expungement or sealing of criminal records.
In celebration of Second Chance Month 2021, The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) hosted a one-of-a-kind virtual event to discuss the business case for “second chance” hiring: “A Hire Calling.”