Trying to secure a decent job after gaining a criminal record can be pretty challenging. The biggest bank in the United States, JPMorgan, is looking to change that.
The U.S can take pride in having its lowest unemployment rate in close to five decades, however, this rate doesn’t apply to those who have been convicted of a crime.
After already using individuals with criminal records to fill positions at the ground level, such as transaction processing and account servicing, JPMorgan is trying to widen its selection of possible employees even further.
Excluding people with criminal records is bad for business
“When someone cannot get their foot in the door to compete for a job, it is bad for business and bad for communities that need access to economic opportunity,” says Chief Executive Officer at JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon.
The bank estimates that the country loses around $78 billion to $87 billion in GDP every year due to companies’ automatic disposition of refusing to hire people with a criminal record. Research suggests that offering education and job opportunities often decreases the likelihood of criminals to commit additional offences.
“Jamie believes, and we believe as a firm, that business has an important role to play in building a more inclusive economy,” said the President of the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, Heather Higginbottom.
A lot of businesses demand prospective employees to divulge any offences for which they’ve been convicted, creating difficulties for ex-criminals who are trying to make it into the job market. The overall unemployment rate in the U.S stands at about 3.5 percent, but for past criminals, it’s estimated to be around 27 percent.
According to Higginbottom, 10 percent of JPMorgan’s hires in 2018 (a little over 2,000 people) had minor convictions, such as drug possession, disorderly conduct, or driving under the influence. Bank robbers on the other hand are still not likely to get hired at JPMorgan.
Because clearing a record is a complicated process, less than 7 percent of criminals who qualify for a clean record end up making the effort to go through the necessary procedures. Several states such as Utah and California have established regulations to make this an automatic process.
JPMorgan also plans to invest approximately $7 billion into community operations in cities like Chicago and Nashville, to aid individuals who are being dragged down by their convictions.