Criminal Justice Reform


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Criminal justice reforms are sweeping both the federal and state levels, making the hiring of ex-offenders increasingly common among employers.

ISSA is a proud member of the Getting Talent Back to Work Coalition because we believe it is unjust for those who have already served their time to be “‘re-sentenced’ by employers.” Since 2010, we have brought custodial training programs to county prisons with transferable skills like “chemical safety, carpet care, cleaning hard floored surfaces and bathrooms, and custodial service operations” and certifications so that inmates emerge with the “the knowledge and confidence to pursue a career” in the cleaning industry.

At the federal level, the First Step Act is a bipartisan effort bringing nonviolent ex-offenders to a place where they can re-enter the workforce after serving their time. This has the potential to keep recidivism rates down while providing a safety valve for labor shortages.

There are many programs at the state level that guide employers toward job searchers with criminal histories. Illinois for example offers employer incentives such as fidelity bonding and tax credits, as do other states. If you are considering hiring ex-offenders, the Federal Bureau of Prisons will also be running a new program to help employers hire inmates upon their release. Additionally, if you have questions regarding background checks, interviewing, or negligent hiring, consult SHRM’s Getting Back to Work toolkit.

There are also many opportunities to partner with nonprofits to train and hire ex-offenders in the cleaning maintenance space. Bethel New Life in Chicago’s West Side neighborhood runs a variety of re-entry programs and have sent ex-offenders into janitorial jobs in the past. About seven miles east, Cara partners with ABM to provides proprietary commercial janitorial courses. Learn more about nonprofit reentry programs here.

ISSA will continue to track and support criminal justice reforms that help reintegrate ex-offenders into society after they serve their time.

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