Work opportunity tax credit WOTC application, pen and notepad.

Felon-Friendly Perks: the Benefits of Hiring Candidates with Criminal Records

There are many benefits for employers that hire candidates with criminal records. From qualifying for tax credits and other government incentives to helping someone with prior convictions get a fresh start, hiring people with criminal histories can benefit local families, companies, and entire communities.

Federal Incentives

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a tax credit extended by the federal government to organizations that hire people with barriers to employment like criminal records The tax credit of $2400 applies to firms that hire ex-convicts within a year of conviction or from the date of release from prison.

Additionally, the Department of Labor offers employers free bonding to promote the recruitment of workers with criminal records. The bonds protect employers from losses related to employee dishonesty or theft. The program is free for the first six months.

Second Chance Opportunities Promote Public Safety

Steady, gainful employment helps prevent recidivism. Studies indicate that most people with prior convictions who re-offend are unemployed. Additionally, there is no research evidence indicating that hiring candidates with criminal records increases incidences of violence, crime, theft, or dishonesty in the work environment. 

Hiring Workers with Criminal Records Is Cost-Effective

Workers with felony records have a lower attrition rate than other employees because having a criminal history is often a barrier to alternative employment. What’s more, studies reveal that people with criminal histories are likely to be more motivated, productive, and loyal because other employers have rejected them.

Further, including candidates with criminal convictions increases the talent pool. Approximately one-third of US residents have a criminal record.

Reducing Claims of Discrimination

Hiring people with a criminal history reduces discrimination claims and violations of Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) ordinances. It also results in a racially diverse workforce. Studies indicate that people of color are more likely to have interacted with the criminal justice system than whites. According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, Black men are imprisoned at nearly six times the rate of white men.

Hiring Workers with Criminal Histories Improves Business Prospects

Hiring practices based on CORI perpetuate poverty by locking millions of Americans out of gainful employment. The negative economic effects reduce tax income for states and lower the spending power of citizens. Further, individuals and families without jobs have to rely on public assistance, leading to high tax rates. Therefore, hiring candidates with criminal records will improve the economy and the quality of life for all citizens.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

People facing criminal charges in Minnesota often ask, “Can you defend yourself in court?” You can represent yourself in court when charged with a crime. Self-representation, however, is not typically in the accused's best interests, even if courts allow it.
Parents whose children have been arrested or accused of committing a heinous crime might wonder, “Can a minor be charged with a felony?” A minor aged 14 years or older but below 18 years may face felony charges in Minnesota.
People accused of or under investigation for assault might ask, “What are the charges for assault?” Minnesota has five levels of assault charges. First-degree assault is the most serious offense, and a conviction often results in the most severe penalties, like long prison time and hefty fines.