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Diversity-Driven Hiring Practices Must Include People with Criminal Backgrounds

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Zia Soleil’s article in Truthout suggests that employers who truly care about creating a diverse team should also consider hiring justice-involved individuals who need a second chance.

Diversity trainings in work places started in the 1960s following the passage of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action laws. This movement helped raising awareness to discrimination and provided more opportunities for Black Americans. However, while focusing on improving hiring practices and creating a better work environment for Black and Brown people, efforts still fail to consider the impacts of the criminal legal system on those communities.

It is known that about 1 in 17 white men are expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime. By contrast, this rate climbs to 1 in 6 for Hispanic men; and 1 in 3 for Black Men. Even after incarceration, many stay unemployed because they face barriers and collateral consequences that prevent them from finding a stable job, finding affordable housing, or pursuing further education.

“But it’s not just up to lawmakers, if employers are truly interested in racial equity and diversity hiring practices, then they should actively include those directly impacted by the criminal legal system in their recruitment hiring practices. It’s a direct reflection of their dedication to diversity and racial equity.” - Zoe Soleil

Many employers are unclear about their company's policies or perspective on hiring individuals with criminal records. They are unaware of the resources for hiring and working with this underserved population.

Read Zoe Soleil’s whole article here:

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