Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you help people get jobs?
No, the National H.I.R.E. Network does not provide job-placement services. Instead, we make referrals to state and local government and community-based programs that directly assist job seekers with criminal records with job training, placement, and retention services through the "Clearinghouse" section of our website.
2. What kind of assistance can you provide?
We offer a range of assistance to individuals with criminal records, direct service providers, policymakers, and others who are concerned about changing employment policies and practices that limit employment opportunities for people with criminal histories. In particular, we provide:
- Model legislation and briefing papers to support specific policy priorities that improve labor market outcomes for people with criminal records, including anti-discrimination, certificates of rehabilitation, or occupational licensing and employment standards.
- Smart solutions to employers to help them access qualified workers, protect themselves from negligent hiring concerns, and maximize cost-savings. We provide peer-to-peer exchange of ideas and innovative practices that can be utilized in your community or state.
- Advice about barriers to employment, including state laws that affect individuals with criminal records and effective strategies to address them.
- Information about research efforts that is relevant to workforce development and criminal justice initiatives.
- Information and advocacy on federal legislation that directly impact harder to employ populations, including people with criminal records.
Because we have limited resources, we try to direct our efforts where we can affect the most far-reaching positive outcomes.
3. Do you offer funding for programs that assist people with criminal records with employment issues?
No, we do not provide funding to programs that assist people with criminal records but send alerts to National H.I.R.E. Network members about government and private funding opportunities that may become available. (See “How to Become a Member” in #7.)
4. Why do you limit your policy advocacy and technical assistance to issues related to employment and not other important prisoner reentry issues?
Our focus is employment and the issues that are connected to it because that is where our expertise lies. Given the range of issues that affect people with criminal records, we believe it is beneficial for the National H.I.R.E. Network to focus on the employment issues, while other organizations and individuals devote their energies to other important issues. We recognize that employment is just one key factor in the ability of individuals with criminal records to successfully live in society and that it must be dealt with in conjunction with other needs such as education, drug treatment, mental health treatment, housing, and health care. Through our parent organization, the Legal Action Center, we are able to address most of the collateral issues of reentry.
5. How do I get a copy of my rap sheet or find out where I can get help finding job where I live?
Visit the "Clearinghouse" section of our website and click on the state for which you want information. We include contact information for government resources and community-based agencies for every state and the District of Columbia.
6. Given that you function as a national clearinghouse, what else do you do to help local advocates and state policymakers?
Through our broad membership base and a range of meetings we have convened, we bring together policymakers, direct service providers, and researchers from the fields of workforce development and criminal justice policy and practice to share information and learn from one another. In addition, we work closely with local advocates and state policymakers to promote public policy that will increase employment opportunities for people with criminal records. For example, we offer model legislation and briefing papers to create certificates of rehabilitation that remove automatic restrictions placed on people with criminal records for certain jobs. (For more information, see the “State Advocacy” section of our website.)
7. What does it mean to be a member of the National H.I.R.E. Network? How much does it cost?
H.I.R.E. offers an annual or lifetime membership at a very low-cost of $35 or $100, respectively. If you are an employer or an individual who is directly affected, we encourage you to complete the process of signing up as a member of our listserv. As a member, you will receive regular updates from us, including a quarterly newsletter, action alerts, press clippings, information on funding opportunities, new reports, and other information related to the employment of people with criminal records. We will not release your name or contact information to anyone without your permission. Click here to become a member.
8. Where can I find a list of employers who hire people with criminal records?
For the most part, no such list exists. Please see The Million Dollar Question: Do You Have List of Employers Who Hire People with Criminal Histories for insights on identifying employers who might be willing to hire job seekers with criminal records.
9. Other than those currently on your website, do you offer any publications specific to particular states?
The Legal Action Center's report "After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry" offers state-specific information on a range of legal barriers. If you are interested in using our guides as a model for a guide for your state, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Do you have an office outside of New York?
Yes, we also have an office in Washington, DC. Having a physical presence in Washington, DC helps us keep a pulse on and be involved with what is going on in the Administration and in the Congress.
11. Do you have any people with criminal records on your staff or Advisory Board?
Yes, our organization is committed to hiring qualified people with criminal records. We have staff that is directly affected by the criminal justice system as well as members of our Advisory Board. However, we also value and rely on the insights of our membership, most of whom are individuals with criminal records, for guidance on the issues we need to address.
12. Do you have statistical information on recidivism and rate of employment of people with criminal records?
While we do not conduct our own statistical analyses, we can guide you to relevant research that might be helpful in better understanding the issues, developing programs and grant writing. Here are some useful links:
- National Institute of Justice: http://nij.gov/nij/topics/corrections/reentry/employment.htm
- National Reentry Resource Center: www.nationalreentryresourcecenter.org
- Pew Center on the States: www.pewcenteronthestates.org
- United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/
- United States Department of Labor: www.dol.gov
- United States Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov
- Urban Institute's Justice Policy Institute: www.urban.org
- Vera Institute of Justice: www.vera.org
- The Sentencing Project: www.sentencingproject.org
- The Foundation Center: www.fdncenter.org
Your state's Departments of Labor and Corrections (including Parole and Probation Departments) can also provide you with relevant state data on employment rates, the number of people being released from prison, and recidivism rates. See our "Clearinghouse" section for contact information for the agencies in your state.