The Albuquerque Business First journal recently asked its readers a probing question—would you hire someone who had just been released from prison?
Responses were predictably varied, with many respondents answering affirmatively. Those that did say they would hire a former prisoner typically cited the importance of second chances and a need to break the cycle of recidivism.
“They paid the debt,” one respondent says. “We are hypocrites when we complain about repeat offenders and then offer no way for them to make an honest life for themselves. We all know that all crooks aren’t behind bars—our businesses and politicians are full of corruption—they just haven’t gotten caught yet or a ‘buddy’ looked the other way.”
“Felons have such a difficult time returning to society, says another. “We set them up for failure to return to prison.”
Those who responded negatively to the question expressed concerns for the safety of co-workers and the inability to rely on the honesty of someone with a past history of criminal wrongdoing.
“No!” one poll taker replied definitively. “[I] wouldn’t be able to trust them. People need to realize they need to keep their record and history clean, or they won’t get a good job. PERIOD!!!”
Nearly 1 in 4 adults in the United States have a criminal record. Because of a myriad of hoops, hurdles, and obstacles (not to mention attitudes like the previous one), many of these men and women are prevented from reintegrating into society, and are denied the chance to become positive contributors to their communities. Too often, this results in a return to old patterns—and sometimes a return to prison.
The Second Prison Project seeks to give men and women with a criminal past an opportunity to live up to their greatest potential. Through acts of advocacy, service, and leadership, the Second Prison Project aims to change society’s perception of people with a criminal record so that we can benefit from every individual’s unique contribution to the world.
To learn more about the Second Prison Project, and how you can be a part of unlocking second chances for those who have paid the debt for past crimes and who want to be a positive force for change in their neighborhoods, click here.