Poseurs in the Criminal Justice Reform space

I’m going to go off on a little rant here, but it does seem like there are a number of organizations/agencies that are supposedly working for criminal justice reform but avoid second chance hiring. In other words, they are supposedly fighting to make the lives of justice-impacted individuals better while at the same time refusing to give us jobs. First, this undermines the push for second chance employment, as it sends the signal that we aren’t worth hiring and using criminal background checks for hiring purposes is perfectly fine. As a result, many private sector employers take the position that they shouldn’t give us jobs since those advocating for us won’t hire us either. Second, they take up a great deal of the oxygen and funding that could go to organizations (such as Interrogating Justice) that actual hire justice-impacted people. It is frustrating since so many of us need gainful employment, and these pompous, useless groups get in the way of that happening. Moreover, they often engage in counter-productive virtue signaling that does nothing to move the cause of criminal justice and prison reform forward. Instead, we get wasteful Hands-Across-America type bullshit that doesn’t help any of us in any meaningful way. So, if any of you folks know the names and phone numbers of the leaders of these organizations, please send them to me so I can call these assholes and tell them to fuck off and get out of our lane! Thanks.


I couldn’t agree more. Much of “fair chance” employment strikes me as similar to wealthy (invariably liberal) neighborhoods pushing for fair housing, but when such projects are proposed in their own neighborhoods, flip out using sleight of hand language about the “character” and “flavor” of their neighborhoods changing.

It’s classic stated vs. expressed preferences.

When it comes to fair chance hiring, the simply question is … whether someone who advocates for fair chance hiring would be OK having someone with a record as their peer, or as their superior. I think that has to be the standard by which companies are held. It’s too easy for an employer in a labor-constrained economy to advocate for ‘second chance’ employment for junior roles. Are they just as willing to support those people to grow to senior roles and beyond? If so, where are the examples?

Otherwise, it’s just PR to meet their ESG hurdle and to feel good about themselves.


This is an employer that does it right. Then again, I wonder what types of roles they are filling.

Flowers Foods embraces Second Chance program

Dan Letchinger, senior vice president of growth brands at Flowers Foods, Inc.
Photo: Sosland Publishing Co.


By Josh Sosland

CHICAGO — The Second Chance employment program of Flowers Foods, Inc., hiring employees with a criminal background, should not be seen as “charity” or a way of showing “pity,” said Dan Letchinger, senior vice president of growth brands at Flowers.

The program should be viewed “from a perspective of hiring the best person for the job — full stop,” he said. Mr. Letchinger offered background about the program March 1 at the American Society of Baking BakingTech 2023 at the Hilton hotel in Chicago.

“We believe that a criminal conviction should not be a barrier to gaining full employment,” he said. “If an individual is ready for change, if they are ready to come to work, work hard, come to work on time, be a reliable hard worker, then why not offer them a job? Like most folks in business, we are looking for loyal and hardworking employees, and we think it would be foolish to turn away folks who check those two boxes just because they check a different box on their job application.”

The Second Chance program was an integral part of the Dave’s Killer Bread (DKB) business acquired by Flowers in 2015. Mr. Letchinger related the story of how Dave Dahl returned to his family’s baking business in Oregon and launched the brand after serving 15 years in prison. DKB has grown rapidly under Flowers’ ownership.


I would be interested in learning. I guess my rant was directed at non-profits operating in the criminal justice reform space that either don’t offer second chance employment to justice impacted individuals above low level positions, or just don’t hire us at all.
As for this employer, are they looking at hiring us for management and middle level management positions, or do they think they can just check the form that says “second chance employer” by filling its ranks of low/entry level positions at minimum wage for part-time work with second chance employees?

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