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One of the most critical and difficult challenges for a person re-entering society is finding employment. Paradoxically, employment and housing may be simultaneously a requirement for probation and parole.

Employment

Many employers will not hire felons and many employment agencies will not help felons. We work very hard to match our clients with employers who support our cause and try to find employment for our clients on a case by case basis. Eighty three percent of our clients find jobs, and most are employed in one year with a job retention rate of 91%.  Where necessary, we help our clients write resumes and letters of reference.

In addition, the Hinda Institute further supports our clients by writing letters to expunge or seal records. 

This continues to be an area of challenge for the Hinda Institute and we need to do more. If you are an employer, help the Hinda Institute by providing employment or training opportunities.  

Understanding the Issue

Ø  Over 5 million formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of over 27% — higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression.

Ø  Formerly incarcerated people want to work; the high unemployment rate reflects public will, policy, practice and barriers to securing employment. Employers discriminate against those with criminal records; although employers express willingness to hire people with criminal records, evidence shows that having a record reduces employer callback rates by 50%.

 Ø This creates a cycle of release and poverty, hurting everyone involved: employers, the taxpayers, and certainly formerly incarcerated people looking to break the cycle.

 Ø Conversely. employment and economic stability reduces the likelihood that the formerly incarcerated return to prison, promoting greater public safety to the benefit of everyone. Finding and maintaining a legitimate job can reduce former prisoners’ chances of reoffending, and the higher the wage, the less likely it is that individuals will return to crime. The PPI report explains that ex-offenders frequently work in the most unstable, lowest-paying jobs, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and, all too often, re-incarceration.

 Ø During the time spent in prison, many lose work skills and are given little opportunity to gain useful work experience.

Taken from www.Prison policy intiative "Out of Prison & Out of Work: Unemployment Among Formerly Incarcerated People,” Prison Policy Initiative (July 2018);   www.prisonpolicy.org; www.thenation.com; www.marketwatch.com; www.congress.gov

Hinda Hero 

 Hinda found me when I was alone in Cook County jail charged with attempted murder. When I was twenty, I was at a party where there was drinking with other young kids; a fight erupted which ended in tragedy.

The rabbi consoled and comforted me in the dark place of jail. The rabbi spent time telling me of Torah teachings to give me hope before and after trial. I ended up being incarcerated for 13 years. During the different seasons, year after year, the Hinda Institute brought me matzahs, grape juice, kosher fish and macaroons for Passover, Hanukah menorahs for Hanukkah - I was provided with Jewish culture and identity. I was not forgotten. The Rabbi's teachings, friendship, listening ear and encouragement was invaluable. When I had doubt in my ability to be a computer IT professional after incarceration and with a conviction, the Rabbi expressed faith.

Once released, I finally got employed at a world pharmaceutical company as a Computer support technician and worked there for 2 1/2 years until I got another better paying job. After 3 years of release after a 13-year sentence, it was still challenging however to find a job, keep a job or move up with many companies doing rigorous background checks. I was directed to seal the conviction. When I asked Hinda for a letter of recommendation, they provided a powerful letter of recommendation that along with my own hard work and my record of drive for success helped and moved the Judge. The judge said they had met and knew Hinda's Rabbi Biynyomin Scheiman, in person and knew his work. The judge granted my petition to seal the conviction from public record.

Now I work at a world bank as an IT support administrator and continue to attend college toward a degree in network administration and security. Hinda supported me, believed in me and stood by me since my years in Cook county jail. Hinda helps. Thank you Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman.