Proposition 57, the measure to show leniency on non-violent criminals and releasing a number of them on early parole for good behavior has long been one of the more polarizing topics. It directly divides those who view it as an economic issue or a moral safety issue. To better understand the topic, the background of how the country became a prison state is necessary.
This isn’t a party-specific problem. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of propping a police state that has increased exponentially over the last 40 years or so, regardless of administration. Regan gave us the war on drugs. Clinton gave us the three strikes law.
Prisons and detention centers are generally privately funded. A private businessman strikes a deal with a state that is in need of prisons that they will construct one on the grounds that they remained a certain amount of occupied. It’s real estate – money is through occupation. Occupation in a prison system though is funded by tax dollars.
The second is that prisons and detention centers produce work force. Many of the largest companies that we shop from has goods produced by inmates, who, because they don’t fall under the rights of a basic human, are paid well below minimum wage. Companies like Whole Foods, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Victoria’s Secret, and AT&T have used prison labor for years.
What does this mean? It means with the release of thousands of new prisoners, there is now an influx of a new, trained workforce who will have difficulty finding jobs because of their background and the difficulty they’ll find filling out an application.
There are also a number of benefits from employers looking to give people second chances. Beyond the feel good stories of playing a part in restoring one’s life, there are tax credits, paid on-job training, among other things. While this may not always be the most ideal situation, many times former inmates are proven to be more mature and diligent due to trying to make better of themselves.
If you’re a product based company in need of employees, this may be an outlet worth pursuing.