U.S. Attorney commends W. MI businesses hiring ex-convicts

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly one in three Michiganders who are convicted of a crime will end up behind bars within three years of their release from prison.

According to U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles’ office, the recidivism rate in Michigan is 28 percent. While that is much lower than the national rate of approximately 66 percent, Miles said more work is needed to curb repeat offenses by supporting former convicts trying to make it in society.

“If we take seriously our charge to reduce crime in the Western District of Michigan, we must focus on this population of returning residents and work with other stakeholders to address challenges they face, to help them become positive, law-abiding members of their communities. Ultimately, by increasing the success of formerly incarcerated individuals, we reduce crime and improve the safety and well-being of all of our communities’ residents,” Miles said in a news release Monday.

As part of Reentry Week, Miles hosted a roundtable meeting in Grand Rapids Monday morning, highlighting companies and organizations who support ex-convicts, including Butterball Farms of Grand Rapids and Cascade Engineering, who employ them. Miles’ office said employers stand to gain dedicated and loyal workers as well as tax incentives.

Miles and area chambers of commerce plan to hold an Employer Summit May 26 to encourage more businesses and organizations to do the same. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said it will also hold a job fair this fall for people who were formerly incarcerated.

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