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The Case for Hiring Ex-offenders

According to management expert James Adonis, there are pros and cons to hiring those with a criminal record. On the one hand, he points out the perils to society if managers universally refused to do so. “The result would be that convicted criminals, or at least those who’ve been to jail, would either remain on perpetual welfare or fall into the recidivism trap,” said Adonis. And on the other hand, he sympathises with those who would have concerns hiring an ex-offender. “Being in business is risky – hiring employees even riskier – and so it makes sense, in a way, to minimise that risk by disqualifying those with a crooked history.” One example of a successful rehabilitation programme that Adonis highlighted is run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Under this scheme, some prisoners undertake an animal training course to learn how to work with dogs that have behavioural problems. They earn nationally recognised qualifications and vocational skills that will assist them in finding employment once they have left prison. “The success of the programme demonstrates that with the right training and supervision prisoners have the potential to become fine workers.” The rate of recidivism in Australia sits at 60%, but the Australian Institute of Criminology has said that the figure can be halved if prisoners are given vocational education and are assisted into employment.

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