Incentivizing ex-cons to get jobs reduces crime and helps small businesses

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The Hill on 9/29/2021 by Devon Kurtz, opinion contributor

After months of lockdowns, capacity restrictions and mandated closures, small businesses crept back into the economy this summer only to face a record-setting labor shortage. Among small businesses, 49 percent reported persistent job vacancies this summer, especially in low-skill industries. This labor crisis presents a unique opportunity to get millions of formerly incarcerated Americans into stable jobs and out of criminal activity, all while helping small businesses recover.

With a record 10.9 million job openings in the U.S., there is no better time for policies that encourage the 870,000 people on parole and 3.5 million people on probation to find jobs. Of the 5 million formerly incarcerated people in the U.S., more than one in four are unemployed. And in their first year out of prison, over 60 percent of people are unemployed.