2021Ban the BoxCriminal RecordsEx-Offenders
Second Chance

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In January 2021, the City of Memphis, Tennessee, announced a partnership with grocery store chain Kroger to provide job opportunities to ex-offenders with prior criminal records who graduate from second chance programs to help reduce the rate of recidivism, according to a news report from FOX13 in Memphis.

FOX13 reported that Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the city partnered with Kroger to provide job opportunities to graduates of the city’s Manhood University and Women Offering Women Support (WOWS) to address the issue of “recidivism,” which is the tendency of ex-offenders to re-offend after getting out of jail.

In 2016, Mayor Strickland and the City of Memphis Administration decided men in the Greater Memphis Area deserved a program that helps build character, improve communication, and strengthen leadership skills, so Manhood University was created by The Office of Community Affairs and faith-based community partners.

In 2018, Mayor Strickland and the City of Memphis Administration decided women in the Greater Memphis Area deserved a program to help build character, improve communication, and strengthen leadership skills for women, so WOWS was created, formed, and implemented by The Office of Community Affairs.

“If somebody who has a criminal background finds a job and turn that job into a career, there’s a very little chance they’ll go back to a life of crime,” Mayor Strickland stated in the news report, adding the city had a high rate of recidivism, so helping ex-offenders find work could reduce recidivism and reduce crime numbers.

“We’re trying to bring in a minimum of 10 to 15 people per week, and this is on a consistent basis. We’re constantly trying to add to our candidate pool and labor force, so there’s not a specific number. We’re always having classes,” Kroger Hiring and Recruiting Manager Gerald Joyner stated in the news report.

In a follow-up story published in February 2021, “City leaders said the partnership with Kroger is already showing signs of success” and added that “since the announcement of the partnership with Kroger, WOWS and Manhood University’s registration increased from about 50 to 200 people,” FOX13 reported.

“Part of the challenges many of these individuals have is jobs because again once employers do their background checks, those things come up and most employers aren’t willing to hire individuals with background challenges,” Ken Moody, special assistant to Mayor Strickland, stated in the follow-up report.

“Ban the Box” laws and second chance programs that help allow ex-offenders with a prior criminal record an opportunity to find work will continue to evolve, according to leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which compiled the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the #1 screening firm in 2020 by HRO Today – offers a white paper on “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce,” an “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide,” and a Ban the Box Resource Page. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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