Standing in front of the Camden County Hall of Justice a few days ago disgraced Camden County Freeholder candidate Vincent Squire recorded a video on his thoughts on reducing recidivism. According to a 2014 Vera Institute for Justice report New Jersey spends $54,865 per year per inmate on it’s average of 25,822 inmates. Since New Jersey is #7 in the nation for the highest tax rates I am willing to listen to any candidate for public office who has ideas to decrease taxes. Then I reminded myself this is Squire we’re talking about. I haven’t heard him propose an idea yet that is based in reality or is executable. His latest idea didn’t disappoint.
Squire starts his video with “Yesterday I was in front of the Attorney General’s office”. He doesn’t say he was “in” the Attorney General’s office or even talking to the Attorney General or a member of his staff. Simply “in front of the Attorney General’s office”. A year ago I was in front of the White House. That doesn’t give my ideas increased validity but I digress.
Squire goes on to say his idea is “not about prison reform but to help ex-offenders who just got released from prison”. OK Squire. I’m all about second chances and reducing taxes in New Jersey. You have my attention. Please go on.
According to Squire “one of the biggest problems is recidivism. It leaves a lot to be desired”. Ummmm. Let’s just call this a Squireism and move on.
Squire goes on to say “they cannot get employment because of a prison record”. Squire proposes we give “Ex-offenders additional training in terms of therapeutic and immersing into the community”. He goes on to say “And with that training we give them a temporary amnesty of their prison record allowing them to seek employment.” Squire continues “This is not a viable solution for a lot of people who have come out of prison. And there are some qualifications involved because the one thing we do want to keep is the notification of pedophiles and ax murders”.
Much like Squire’s prior proposals of developing Petty’s Island (which cannot be developed due to an environmental easement) and developing Pennsauken’s waterfront (land that Pennsauken Township does not own) Squire’s latest proposal is not based in reality and is not executable.
Having spent the last 24 years in talent acquisition and human resources I know that an applicant’s history will go a long way in predicting their future behavior. There are good reasons why employers perform background checks. Not the least of which is mitigating the risk of violent or disruptive behavior in the workplace. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management 36% of employers reported workplace violence incidents. Employers need to demonstrate due diligence in the event of an incident in the workplace. Employers face responsibility for their employees welfare and the safety of their customers. Negligent hiring is a legal term that describes an employer’s liability for an incident caused by an employee when the employer knew (or should have known) that the employee posed a risk.
Employee fraud and theft cause huge losses for American businesses. In retail for example employee theft is the largest source of inventory shrinkage.
Employers have an obligation to verify the information contained in a resume or employment application to ensure they are hiring qualified employees. A report by the job board CareerBuilder found that 58% of resumes include misleading or incorrect information such as falsified education details, inaccurate job titles, seniority levels and employment dates. According to a survey conducted by background check provider HireRight 86% of employers have uncovered lies or misrepresentations on resumes or job applications. Additionally 72% said background screening uncovered issues they would not have otherwise found.
I am not saying that ex-offenders should not be able to re-enter society and earn a living. What I am saying is that employers have a right to protect their employees and their businesses by knowing the backgrounds of those they intend to hire.
Squire was almost on the right track when he proposed training but as usual did not do the research or does not possess the mental capacity to fully execute his line of thought. While I agree that training is an essential part of reducing recidivism, and agree that some sort of training to help an ex-offender re-enter society is important, job skills training is essential. We are currently in the strongest job market most of us remember. Unemployment claims are a the lowest point since 1969. For the first time in recorded history there are more available jobs then there are potential employees to fill those jobs. We should provide ex-offenders the job skills to allow them to successfully re-enter society and be gainfully employed but we cannot withhold their criminal record from potential employers.
Squire, as with your prior proposals what does this idea make you?
Squire is facing an upcoming trial for Second Degree Felony Assault (for beating his son). I wonder if he is thinking ahead to his own fate and ability to seek employment once released from prison if he is convicted.