U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite Urges Business Community to Hire Ex-offenders.
Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite asked New Orleans business leaders to hire ex-offenders returning from prison and to help tackle Louisiana’s recidivism problem. We applaud Mr. Polite’s willingness to bring attention to this important issue. Polite asked business leaders to consider implementation of a program known as “30-2-2.” According to Mr. Polite, the program, currently being tested in Michigan, calls for 30 local employers to hire two returning ex-convicts for two years, he said, each employer monitors the employment experience over those two years and operates in partnership with a consulting group.
As Mr. Polite pointed out during a New Orleans Chamber of Commerce speech, “we can’t build a jail big enough to get out of this violent crime problem.” “We can’t arrest our way out of this problem.” We have heard Attorney General Eric Holder express similar views. We applaud their courage and vision. Mr. Polite also promised to make it a priority for his office to fight public corruption and violent, deadly crime. “All too often, both the victims and the perpetrators of these crimes look just like me,” he said. “They are young African-American males.” We at Regan Law PLC, dedicate our efforts to the defense of the accused. Therefore, how our clients who are convicted of crimes re-enter society is front and center. We know that the families left behind suffer greatly when their loved is sent to prison for an extended period of time. We are very aware of how hard it is for convicted men and women find employment once their prison term has ended. So often even though they would rather leave behind a life of crime, they think they have no choice but to continue previous criminal activities because they cannot find employment. If this can change, then we think that the rate of recidivism will drop.
Mr. Polite has said that the 30-2-2 program has already been implemented by several national companies, with encouraging results and encouraged the Chamber of Commerce’s more than 1, 000 members to consider taking part in such an experiment. Mr. Polite reminded the Chamber of Commerce members that “Louisiana incarcerates a greater percentage of its residents than any place in the entire world,” he said, “and yet it remains one of the most violent places in the country.” Polite posed specific and relevant questions to the Chamber membership. He asked business leaders to give careful consideration to two important points when deciding whether or not to hire individuals who have been arrested or convicted of a crime. “How relevant is the conviction to the job or industry?” he said. “Has the person undertaken any efforts to rehabilitate himself?”
The approach suggested by Mr. Polite, when coupled with Sheriff Gusman’s re-entry program might just be the catalyst that brings real and effective change to our area. We know that the rate of incarceration in the New Orleans smacks against the many successes our area is achieving. We welcome these programs as well as any other that help our clients and their families become productive members of our community; citizens capable of providing for their children with a good home and a solid education.