Advocates for Formerly Incarcerated People Push for More Businesses to be "Felony Friendly"
Date:  06-28-2016

Finding a job isn't easy for those with a criminal history
(Note from the Editor: Reentry Central avoids using the words “offenders,” “convicts,” “inmates,” and “addicts.” Instead, we choose to use less stigmatizing and punishing terms, for example: “formerly incarcerated people,” “people who are incarcerated,” “returning citizens,” and “people who use drugs.” Sometimes we do post articles or reports that use outdated and harmful terminology because of its valuable content. Such is the case in the article below.)

The following article by Mark Obbie originally appeared in the New York Times on June 25, 2017.

In Search of the Felon-Friendly Workplace

ST. LOUIS — Rick Plowman’s business, installing suspended ceilings in offices, schools and hotels, could use new blood. But hiring is tough, he tells the man sitting in his office. The 20-somethings he sees haven’t had the work ethic, haven’t had the hustle.

“I have a hard time hiring people with that drive,” he says. “I go through a lot of employees that don’t have that drive.” The man listening, Scott Anders, is a federal probation officer — and he spots the opening he came for: He pitches Mr. Plowman on the notion of hiring more ex-cons.

“What we really want is just for them to have an opportunity to interview with you,” Mr. Anders says. Mr. Plowman isn’t sure that’s a good idea. What about his company’s truckloads of expensive construction tools, he wonders aloud. You send the new hire out with that truck, and “Your initial instinct is, ‘Is that coming back to me?’” Mr. Plowman says. “That’s unfortunate you think that. But that’s the fact.” Mr. Anders knows this dance well. He is the architect of one of the most ambitious jobs-for-felons program in the federal courts system. Read more