(Photo by Pexels user Cytonn Photography, used under a Creative Commons license)
In August, the PrisonEd Foundation found that Delaware was the second worst out of 45 states when it comes to the reentry of formerly incarcerated people, based on factors including the number of current and former inmates, reentry programs and background check restrictions.
The data — which likely does not include newer reentry programs such as Second Chances Farm in Wilmington — shows that Delaware has a three-year recidivism rate of 64.9%, second only to Alaska. Eight percent of the state’s population is either a current or former inmate, and there are a total of five reentry programs, per PrisonEd. (For size context, Pennsylvania had eight, California had 13 and Maryland had one.)
JPMorgan Chase, Delaware’s second largest private employer with over 11,000 employees in Wilmington and Newark, has announced that it is expanding its commitment to giving people with criminal backgrounds a second chance by supporting their reentry into the workforce and local economies.
The firm’s new Policy Center will focus on several key areas, including:
- Reforming financial services industry hiring rules
- Restoring access to Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals
- Supporting initiatives to push criminal background checks later in the hiring process
- Supporting initiative for “Clean Slate” record clearing
- Reforming fines and fees in the justice system
- Expanding entrepreneurship resources
In addition, JPMC is investing more than $7 million nationwide, including a $165,000 investment in The Rodel Foundation of Delaware. Rodel is also one of the organizations collaborating with the company to launch best practice toolkits and planning resources that help with the recruitment, hiring and retention of people with criminal backgrounds by major employers.
“In Delaware, we know it’s important to offer our neighbors a second chance, to allow Delawareans who have a criminal history to compete for a job and contribute to our success as a state,” said Delaware Gov. John Carney, in a press statement. “That’s why we are excited about these initiatives from JPMorgan Chase — a major employer in Delaware.
“The company is already making important progress on its commitment to hire Delawareans and Americans with criminal backgrounds, which is incredibly important,” he said. “These additional community investments, and the company’s leadership on second chance policy initiatives, will help build on that progress in our state and across the country.”
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