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Iowa Public Radio’s talk shows are examining Iowa’s corrections system for our summer series, which will run through July. With help from Iowa Public Radio reporters we’re looking at issues that have been in the news recently, like treatment for Iowa’s sex offenders.  We’ve discussed the purpose of prison, and how our view of that purpose shapes how we run and fund our correctional institutions.  We’ll be examining the perspective of crime victims and their role in the corrections system.  We’ll talk about commutation and clemency in the wake of the Rasberry Williams case. We’re also planning shows on the community corrections system and its role in monitoring and treating offenders;  how mandatory minimum sentences have impacted the makeup of Iowa’s prison population;  the increasing incarceration of women and how having parents in prison impacts families;  what it looks like to age and die in prison, and the role God plays in prison;  the various programs that exist to help prisoners through their daily lives, and to help them succeed once they leave prison;  and the difficulty of finding and keeping employment outside prison, and how that impacts recidivism. If you have suggestions, or would like to offer your expertise or story for our series, please contact Executive Producer, Katherine Perkins, at kperkins@iowapublicradio.org.

Employers To Learn Benefits of Hiring Ex-Offenders

WIKICOMMONS / BrokenSphere
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The recidivism rate for ex-offenders is significantly lower when they find employment after they leave prison. But getting hired can be difficult for people with criminal records.

This week, Iowa employers can attend free seminars to learn more about the benefits of hiring people with criminal records. The federally-sponsored program is titled “Iowa’s Untapped Workforce: A Roadmap for Second Chance Hiring.”

Employers will get information about theft insurance programs and tax benefits they can claim if they hire ex-felons. They’ll also learn about working with probation officers to find staff with skills that fit their business’s needs.

U.S. Attorney Kevin Techau of the Northern District of Iowa adds that often the ex-offender workforce is very dependable.

“Many of the offenders are actually under supervision. And so they’re in a very strict program. So that, that means in terms of where they live and the hours they keep,” says Techau. “They’re very reliable because they’re under supervision.”

Employers will also get guidance on how to create a hiring policy that protects their company, but is also legally compliant.

The seminars will take place on Tuesday in Cedar Rapids, Wednesday in Fort Dodge and Sioux City on Thursday.