Former inmates facing greater struggle to find jobs

2010 law has had mixed effects, sheriff says

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Across Massachusetts, fewer ex-inmates are going back to jail, but fewer of them are also finding jobs successfully.

Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane told 22News that this is happening because of a state law passed in 2010. It limits how much access an employer has to your criminal history information. For example, a company cannot ask for that information on an initial job application/

Cahillane says that this is both good and bad for former inmates. It helps them, because employers are not allowed to discriminate right off the bat, but it can be bad as well, because employers can assume that you have a criminal record, even if they cannot ask you about it.

The sheriff’s department is trying to bridge that gap by working on finding inmates jobs before they are released. That way, the employer knows about the inmate’s criminal record and cannot discriminate against them for that.

Cahillane told 22News that most of his released inmates work in restaurants, construction, and manufacturing. He said that he is currently working on strengthening programs that help inmates find jobs when they are released.