Hiring ex-Felons 4 myths that you must not believe

In 2020, the country saw a record-low rate of unemployment, but still, an astounding 27% of the formerly incarcerated weren’t able to get jobs. The overall 3.6% unemployment rate across all industries is indicative that employers need skilled workers, so you might ask, why is finding jobs for ex-convicts still so difficult in these times?


While there are several reasons, including the lack of education of many formerly incarcerated people as many of them are not given access to continued education, these myths are definitely not helping their case:


Myth #1: Criminals Can’t Stop Being Criminals


Many employers are still hesitant about hiring people with a criminal record due to the belief that they are more likely to steal or commit a serious violation due to their past. But there is no truth in this!


A study recently conducted by Harvard and the University of Massachusetts showed that former felons who joined the military are not more likely to get terminated due to negative reasons but that they were even promoted faster. While the screening performed by the military is strict (and it’s likely that those who might get in trouble are not allowed in), it still shows that a criminal background is not an automatic indication of bad behavior and that it doesn’t mean you can’t turn a new leaf.


Myth #2: Former Felons Are Unreliable and Lazy


In connection with the previous myth, some employers automatically form an impression of a former felon and say that you cannot rely on someone who has been in jail before. Ironically, for most people with criminal records, the pressure is higher to keep a job after they’ve been released, so they tend to work harder. They are even more motivated because they are grateful for the opportunity given.


There are also studies where human resources managers uncovered that the annual turnover was, in fact, lower for employees with criminal records. By implementing a program to hire employees with criminal records, they can reduce turnover rates from 25% to 11%!


Myth #3: Only Hire Those Who Have Already Gotten Experience Somewhere


Another reason it’s so hard to find jobs for convicted felons is that many employers are not willing to give them that chance to start anew. But if nobody gives them that first “second chance,” how will they get the experience they need to move forward? Why assume that someone else will give them that chance when you could assume the opportunity to open the door for them? By giving ex-felons an opportunity to work for experience, you are also helping them get back on their feet.


Myth #4: There Is a Skills Gap between People with Criminal Records and Those Without

Some prisons and reentry programs are already offering training for people with criminal records to increase their career opportunities. There are programs that help them improve organizational skills, communication skills, and leadership skills at no cost to close whatever gap there may be.




Stereotyping people with criminal records through the myths mentioned are baseless and unjust. They should not be the reason for the formerly incarcerated not to get the career opportunities they need to move forward with their life. Like how people with no criminal records are assessed for a job based on their individual personalities, skills, and potential, so should it be for convicted felons.


Considering that almost a third of the U.S. adult population has a criminal record, ignoring candidates who have been in jail before means you are missing out on a considerable part of the labor pool. It’s important for employers to look beyond their history and see the person in the present and their potential.


Finding jobs for ex-convicts is now made easier by Fallen Valor. We work with more than 3500 employers in Oklahoma who are happy to help those who are starting their life anew. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you or someone you love get a fresh start!

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