Employing Former Inmates

Work opportunities provide hope and a chance for achieving success to newly released Federal inmates

Employers are encouraged to participate in creating opportunities to help individuals become law-abiding, productive citizens. Many former inmates are willing to start in minimum wage jobs that offer a future. Here are three reasons why you should consider employing a former inmate:

Service to the public

By providing work opportunities, you can help former inmates become tax-paying citizens who contribute to the community, and give them a chance to share in the American dream.

Skilled employees

Most former inmates have completed programs designed to help them develop the skills needed to achieve success in the "world of work." Many have had employment and training in Federal Prison Industries (tradename: UNICOR), and/or in vocational and occupational training programs. Some have valuable skills and can fill jobs for which skilled workers are hard to find.

Business Incentives

Insurance for hiring former inmates with UNICOR experience

The UNICOR Federal Bonding Program provides theft insurance up to $5,000 to employers who hire former inmates after 2006. The former inmate must have been a federal inmate who worked in UNICOR for at least six months during incarceration in a federal correctional institution, and sought coverage within one year after release. Each former inmate is entitled to coverage for one job after completing their residence/program at a residential re-entry center.

Employers who hire eligible former inmates may apply (on a standard application form) for the insurance, at no cost to the employers or to the employees. The initial bond, paid for by UNICOR, covers the first six months of employment and is renewable by the employer at commercial rates. In the event of theft of money or property, this insurance will reimburse the employer up to the bond value.

For questions about this program, please speak with a ITB Federal Bonding Specialist (202-305-3553) or email the Inmate Transition Branch: BOP-FPI/Inmate_Transition@bop.gov.

More Information

Insurance for hiring former inmates

The U.S. Department of Labor's Federal Bonding Program protects employers from employee dishonesty, covering any type of stealing: theft, forgery, larceny, and embezzlement. This program is a partnership between the U. S. Department of Labor and The McLaughlin Company (an insurance brokerage firm) and provides the guarantee through fidelity bonds that cover the first six months of employment at no cost to the job applicant or the employer.

In most states the bonds are made available through the state agency responsible for workforce matter. For questions, about this program, please refer to the Directory of State Coordinators.

More Information

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Gives an immediate contribution to an employer's "bottom line" by providing eligible employers with a Federal tax credit for hiring a former inmate.

More Information