Prisoner Re-Entry

Prisoner Re-Entry is a partnership between OEI, the volunteer AmeriCorps Members and the re-entry councils working together to deliver quality services to individuals and families in the region.  How much better would it be for society, the region's economy, the well being of families/children, and the restoration of men and women themselves, if they became stable and productive members of the community?  That is the goal of Prisoner Re-Entry.  Reentry into the labor market is one of the most challenging situations ex-offenders face.  Tragically, misinformation and misconceptions combine to create barriers to the successful employment of ex-offenders in Southwest Virginia.

Myths about employing people with criminal records

  1. Ex-offenders are only capable of doing manual or repetitive work
  2. Ex-offenders are not educated
  3. Ex-offenders are un-reliable - they arrive late or not at all
  4. Ex-offenders are a high risk
  5. Someone will always have to be watching over them
  6. Other employees will not work with them
  7. The existence of criminal convictions is an indication of being untrustworthy.
  8. Many people assume that ex-offenders have a basic character flat that is not found in the "normal" population
  9. An ex-offender would not be a conscientious worker and would only be working for the money
  10. People do not put their past behind them
  11. Our company policy excludes ex-offenders because of the type of work involved or legal restrictions.


Reality about employing people with criminal records

  1. People with criminal records come from all areas of our society
  2. Nearly one in three have graduated high school and/or college.
  3. In general, they are as reliable as other workers
  4. It is policy of the U.S. Probation Office to notify employers of any third party risk.
  5. Ex-offenders are people who have committed a crime and who have worked through their punishments.  Most of them want to make a fresh start.
  6. There is no need for employees other than line managers to know of the employee's past.  You'll be surprised how quickly an ex-offender will fit in, given the opportunity.
  7. In the vast majority of cases, these are "normal" people who have made a mistake and are ready to put it behind them.
  8. Most ex-offenders feel they have something to prove and will be conscientious workers.
  9. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 32 adults were either on probation or incarcerated at the end of 2001.
  10. It is a common misunderstanding that certain professions and trade licenses bar people with criminal records.  In fact, refusal is determined by type of offense, not by the existence of one.


Assessing a conviction

Assessing a conviction to make a reasoned judgment about risk is a fairly simple process.  It involves checking a person's criminal history against the following criteria:


  • What is the relevance of the offense(s) to the job being applied for?
  • How long ago did the offense(s) occur?
  • How many times has the person offended?
  • What are the nature and seriousness of the offense(s)?
  • Evaluate the background to the offenses; (circumstances often change, i.e. drug dependency, homelessness, etc.).
  • Were the offenses work related?
  • What is the person's attitude regarding the offense(s)?


Benefits of Hiring an Ex-offender


Individuals Seeking Bonding


The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding for the first six months of employment for hard-to-place job applicants. If you are seeking bonding services and/or a job you should call the following toll-free number for 1. the location of the workforce office/one-stop center nearest your home and, 2. the telephone number of the State Bonding Coordinator for your state. In those states without a state bonding coordinator, callers will be referred to the nearest career center/ one-stop center for employment assistance.

Call toll free: 1.877.US2.JOBS (1.877.872.5627)