If 30% of the population has a record, then finding a way to help them get back into the workforce is critical for our nation… because, especially for young people who have only been in jail a couple of years – the rate of recidivism is high… on average it’s 75%, and in part, because the barriers to employment are so high that they return to drug-related crimes that end them back in prison. I’ve actually heard people say, “they get what they deserve, and they deserve this punishment” – but a system which just punishes without providing a pathway for redemption is just perpetuating the dangers to society as a whole.
For a long time, there has been a mentality around criminal justice that people have bad tendencies. But for the large majority, this is simply not true. It’s quite often life circumstances, and sometimes just a single bad choice or misfortune that created a downward spiral. With the right support, there is every possibility for everyone to get the second chance they deserve.