Of the nearly 46,000 inmates currently incarcerated in the state, roughly 92% will remain in Arizona upon release. ARIZONA @ WORK is providing inmates nearing release with comprehensive workforce services in Second Chance Centers located inside three state prisons. Upon release, reentry workforce services are offered at NATIVE HEALTH, two Reentry Centers, Parole offices, and in ARIZONA @ WORK offices throughout the state.
Here are just some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to give former inmates a second chance by adding them to your labor force.
- A Real Second Chance: In March 2017, Governor Ducey launched the Second Chance program to prepare inmates for success in Arizona’s workforce. Providing former inmates a second chance through gainful employment gives the individuals who have paid their debts to society the opportunity to become self-sufficient members of our communities. Additionally, many Arizona employers report that the former inmates they’ve hired have been some of the most loyal and committed employees they’ve had.
- Tax Credit: Employers are eligible for $2,400 in tax credits through the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program for each former “qualified ex-felon” they hire.
- Federal Bonding: In Arizona, employers are eligible to procure $5,000 of Fidelity Bond insurance for a six-month period at no cost to protect them against loss and/or damage for each at-risk employee they hire.
- Break the Cycle of Incarceration: There are roughly 6.9 million individuals incarcerated or on parole in the United States of which more than two thirds will recidivate within three years of release. Mass incarceration has a multi-generational effect on families as well as their communities. Gainful employment is a leading disruptor in this cycle as it offers previous offenders’ purpose and a way to earn a living.
- Safer Communities: Gainful employment reduces the likelihood that former inmates living in our communities will reoffend.
- Taxpayer Savings: It costs more than $25,000 annually to incarcerate each inmate in Arizona. Saving taxpayer monies on incarceration will allow Arizona to use the funding elsewhere to support our communities.
To learn more about Arizona’s reentry workforce services for job seekers and employers, please visit https://des.az.gov/services/employment/reentry-services.
* Sources: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Vera The Price of Prisons
By Jillian Seamans