CEO Newsletter: Second Chance Month

The Forgotten Candidate Needs Our Support In April – and Beyond

Since 2017, April has been designated “Second Chance Month” – shining a spotlight on the belief that the best strategy to keep individuals out of jail after they serve their time is to give them opportunities to fully reintegrate into society. But, I’ve always believed that these often overlooked or forgotten candidates deserve more than 30 days on the calendar.

Our country’s record-breaking incarceration rates are nearly matched by exceptionally high recidivism rates—a seemingly unbreakable cycle due to lack of employment opportunities. At ViaPath we see this issue first-hand from every angle, as we leverage education, training, and technology to decrease the chances that individuals will end up re-incarcerated, while maintaining a critical lifeline to their friends and family on the outside.

That’s why we walk the walk, encouraging successful re-entry not only through life skills and job placement programs for the incarcerated, but through our own hiring of the formerly incarcerated – in April and beyond.

We’re also working to help companies see the value in “giving a chance” to the formerly incarcerated so they reach their goals and successfully reintegrate back into their community. Even the smallest change can make a big difference, as with the “Ban the Box” campaign, launched in 2003. Since then, a large number of corporations have stepped up and removed the question “Have you ever been convicted?” from their hiring applications. In addition to ViaPath, other corporations include Starbucks, Facebook, Walmart, Target, and Uber to name a few. This simple change to employment applications is making a big difference in increasing opportunities for individuals with a criminal record to be seen as qualified candidates and ultimately, get hired.

Which brings us back to that word: “chance.”  It’s not risk or luck. It’s actually the opportunity for individuals to reunite with their friends and families, restart their futures, re-gain their dignity, re-enter society on solid footing, and re-engage with their communities in a positive way. But like the “Ban the Box” campaign – it takes time. It also takes action and effort on our part.

Whether you’re a family member, friend, or prospective employer, starting over starts with you.

So, while we kick things off in April by shining a light on second chances, I firmly believe that we should do all we can to break the cycle of incarceration and foster these opportunities all year long. Because second chances – like any life-changing events – can happen at any time.

Deb Alderson
CEO, ViaPath Technologies

Posted In: Blog


Focusing on Mental Health All Year Round

Read Article

Resources to Improve Mental Wellbeing of Incarcerated Individuals

Read Article