Waste Pro offering ex-felons and other offenders the opportunity to work and earn a respectable wage is a good idea.
Of course, the actions that led to offenders to serving jail time or being sentenced to prison can’t be condoned, but they should be able to live a meaningful life after leaving a corrections facility and have met Florida Department of Corrections’ criteria for seeking employment.
Ex-felons have a difficult time finding a job. Businesses don’t to want risk hiring someone with a record and the potential that exists for further criminal activity. Even Florida doesn’t want the risk most of the time. The state is one of only three which permanently bars ex-felons from voting unless they receive clemency.
The fact that Waste Pro, which has garbage, recycling and horticultural pickup services in 28 areas in Florida, including Cape Coral, is willing to take the chance shows courage and good business sense. Picking up garbage is not the most glamorous job, the pay isn’t great, turnover is high and the work demanding and tough. Garbage truck drivers are in demand and this is a good way for offenders, under state supervision, to get work.
Waste Pro, in partnership with the department of corrections, announced the new employment program last week. Waste Pro will begin an application process and review qualified offender candidates for vacant positions. These candidates won’t be those convicted of violent crimes or sex offenses. They could be people who served time for theft, burglaries, writing bad checks, etc. But they have to meet criteria set by Waste Pro and the division of corrections to be eligible.
Waste Pro has hired ex-felons in the past, but they have been people who have applied for jobs through the company’s standard process. By partnering with the division of corrections, the pool of applicants will be much larger.
Waste Pro is a legit company. The Longwood-based company is the fourth largest privately owned business in Central Florida with projected revenues of $640 million this year. The company has 3,200 employees and 2,400 trucks, serving 2 million residential and 40,000 commercial customers in nine states.
Concerning the program, questions we posed to Waste Pro representatives:
Which offenders will be eligible or qualified to apply for the program?
“Waste Pro will review all applicants on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must be able to meet the minimum qualifications for the desired positions.”
Information provided by Waste Pro suggests the offenders are still under state supervision. Does that mean those who have already been released from a corrections institution or those who are still in a facility and released for a work detail?
“The individuals referred to Waste Pro for employment are offenders supervised by a probation officer in the community.”
If hired by Waste Pro, how are they supervised?
“All offenders under FDC supervision are supervised by a probation officer as stipulated in their probation orders from the court. Applicants referred to Waste Pro for employment are also supervised by a manager from Waste Pro like any other employer/employee relationship.”
Does job placement result in a reduction of people returning to prison?
“Research continues to show that people released from prison and jail that hold jobs in the community are less likely to recidivate, especially when earnings are above minimum wage. It also shows that job stability over an extended period of time can reduce the likelihood that an individual will re-offend. Being employed also enables individuals to provide financial support to their families, which in turn could generate more personal support, stronger positive relationships and enhanced self-esteem.”
Senior Engagement Editor Tom Hayden wrote this editorial on behalf of The News-Press editorial board and USA TODAY NETWORK – Florida. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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