JPMorgan Chase bank announced this week that it will seek to hire more people with criminal records at its banks. The announcement comes with the arrival of a new second chance program that will help people with criminal records find jobs in a lucrative field. The company has implemented this program for over a year now, hiring as many as 2,000 people with low level criminal offenses on their records in 2018, but seeks to expand education about the program going into 2020.
Chase Bank Helps Bring Criminal Issue To Light
JPMorgan Chase announced this week that it would continue to hire applicants that qualify for a job regardless of their criminal background. 35 states currently have laws against certain jobs asking on the application whether or not an applicant has a criminal record, as the information can be used to disqualify a candidate before even considering them for a position they would otherwise be great at. JPMorgan Chase is among the many companies in solidarity with the “ban the box” laws and movement, saying that it will continue not to ask questions about a candidates criminal history in job applications.
The national unemployment rate is currently at a record low. While those numbers may not reflect the whole truth of the situation, as many people currently work multiple part-time jobs or do contract/temp work to supplement their low income, it does mean that companies are having to get competitive with their benefits and incentives to attract new hires and maintain employees.
One of the hardest aspects of the prison system in America is the fact that many people with criminal backgrounds are automatically disqualified for many positions in the first place, making it that much harder to get back on your feet once you get out of prison. In the majority of cases, many people that were imprisoned for minor offenses like minor drug charges are put back in the world with very little options.
Combating Mass Incarceration
Recent initiatives to help former inmates have brought this problem into the limelight, such as Illinois’ new program that will expunge the records of people with certain cannabis-related offenses on their records as the state gears up to make the substance recreationally legal. In other places like New York City, programs to help former inmates find jobs and get back on their feet have existed for quite some time. But for many, their options were small.
Mass incarceration is one of the most heated political issues in the country today, as so much of it effects marginalized and struggling communities and actively works to keep them struggling even after they’ve completed every possible punishment for their crimes. Opportunities for former inmates and those with criminal backgrounds are two major ways to help combat the problem, in addition to changes in legislation on things like cannabis that will help keep otherwise innocent people out of the prison system.