Turner, Pou Bill to Incentivize Employers to Hire Ex-Offenders Approved by Committee
Trenton – In an effort to encourage employers to hire ex-offenders, the Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Nellie Pou, which would authorize corporation business tax and gross income tax credits for businesses that employ qualified ex-offenders.
“Thousands of inmates will be released next month, entering into one of the worst job markets in history with a stigma attached to them that already creates immense barriers to employment,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “While we have made strides in recent years to improve reentry services, this adds another layer of assistance to encourage businesses to hire ex-offenders and provide stable income for formerly incarcerated individuals. This legislation will help to provide them with a better chance of successful reentry and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.”
“Formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of over 27 percent — higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate at any point in history, including the Great Depression,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “Although employers express willingness to hire people with criminal records, evidence shows that having a record reduces employer callback rates by 50 percent, making reentry for former offenders extremely difficult.”
Under the bill, S-1162, the amount of each credit would be equal to 15 percent of the wages paid to the ex-offender with a maximum of $900 per ex-offender.
A qualified ex-offender would be defined in the bill as a person who has been convicted of a crime of the first, second, third or fourth degree, and has been hired within one year of the date of conviction or release from incarceration.