Second chances. Songs have been written about the concept, movies made, proverbs spoken, and tales told. We grant them to our spouses, to our friends, our children, co-workers, and even strangers.
Essentially it comes down to forgiving and forgetting. But many of us would agree that some individuals commit certain deeds that cannot be so easily forgiven and forgotten, deeds that perhaps should be met with consequence. Specifically acts that violate the law.
Time for the Crime
For those who perpetrate crimes, our justice system has mandated consequence through degrees of incarceration in accordance with the severity of the committed offense.
Release after time served is to be the end of a criminal’s punishment. Still, many former convicts continue to pay penance on the ‘outside,’ particularly when trying to find a job.
Often, any degree of crime or interment elicits an automatic employment rejection, particularly for felons.
But for individuals who have ‘learned their lesson,’ reformed their ways, and sincerely wish to forge ahead as law-abiding, contributing members of society, what are they to do? Do they not deserve a second chance, an opportunity to prove their commitment to the ‘straight and narrow’?
Scofflaw to Superstar
Just look at Merle Haggard, Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Wahlberg, Charles S. Dutton, Nick Nolte, Danny Trejo...even Bill Gates. These personalities all escaped a criminal past to hammer out a successful future.
Though not to the scale of celebrity, many other lawbreakers in our midst possess the desire and potential to surpass villainy for virtue. They just need a chance.
Depending on the crime, the time-span, and the job or industry, employers may realize that they’re not so much taking a risk in employing felons as they are discovering valuable, dedicated employees – and capturing tax credits along the way.
Diamonds in the Rough
According to many studies, employers can find model employees in ex-felons: they know they have much to prove, they know they’re being scrutinized – they know this may be their only shot at an honest life.
Benefits of hiring a former felon:
You believed in them and gave them a chance to succeed; an ex-offender will most likely want to stick around and help you and your business succeed.
- Punctuality and Manageability
Prison often instills a strict sense of regiment and obedience, which individuals will often carry with them to freedom and throughout their new life.
- Previous Training
It’s possible the former lawbreaker you’re considering has already worked through vocational training on the ‘inside’ that is related to the position.
- No More Offenses
Holding a cherished job helps steer ex-criminals away from re-offending and jeopardizing their opportunities of freedom and prosperity.
- Tax Credits
And then there are the tax breaks for employers who hire previous felons. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) grants companies tax credits between $1,200 to $9,600 when they hire employees from any one of 14 target groups, which include ex-felons.
Turn Over a New Life
As with any potential new worker, employers must practice astute discretion and pay heed to red flags when considering former convicts for hire.
But to unilaterally dismiss an individual only for a criminal past would be to commit a disservice to the reformed and to the company by robbing a citizen of the chance to ripen into a contributing member of society and denying valuable tax-saving opportunities for a business.
And the best way to ensure you don’t overlook critical requirements or miss out on your full tax credit potential, seek the guidance of a tax professional who specializes in WOTC and other employment-based tax incentives.