- Dave’s Killer Bread, which claims one third of its workforce has a criminal background, is launching the Second Chance Project, according to Baking Business. The new program give ex-cons a place to share their stories of life out of prison and back at work.
- In addition to pictures and anecdotes, the site also will offer statistics on how current employment trends, which don’t favor hiring ex-cons, perpetuates recidivism.
- The Last Mile, an innovative inmate technology training program at San Quentin State Prison, is partnering with Dave’s Killer Bread for this project.
Dave’s Killer Bread, which is owned by Flower Foods, has made a name for itself by identifying as a company co-founded by an ex-con. After serving 15 years in prison, Dave Dahl and his brother, Glenn, went to work in their parents’ decades-old bakery. The 2005 launch of Dave’s Killer Breads was a testament to Glenn looking past Dave’s criminal history, and they have kept that same open mind when it comes to their own hiring practices.
There are a number of potential perks for employers who decide to hire ex-criminals, in addition to the social impact they’re making. There is a good chance they will be a more loyal and dedicated worker because they are grateful for the job. It’s difficult for many ex-cons to find employment, so they’ll be more invested in the company that hires them because they want to keep that job. This also means they’ll be less likely to quit. If a company hires an ex-felon within one year of their release from prison, they may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. It offers the employer up to $2,400 for each adult hired. This could all be advantageous to Flower Foods; in addition to the positive press they would likely receive.
Hiring ex-cons does come with it’s own set of risks. An employer may consider hiring non-violent offenders, but draw the line there. If female employees, for example, learned that a latest hire was convicted of sexual assault, it could negatively affect the work environment and productivity.
There also is the chance the employee will recess back to their criminal ways. Co-founder Dave Dahl experienced this firsthand in 2013 when he rammed multiple patrol cars in Washington County, Oregon, during a reported mental heath crisis. During the incident, Dahl injured 3 deputies, was tased and eventually arrested. He was later found guilty on all charges relating to the incident, except for insanity.
Dave’ Killer Bread is not alone in hiring workers with a criminal past. Dr Pepper Snapple, Conagra, Campbell Soup, General Mills, Kroger, PepsiCo, Safeway and Tyson Foods, among others, all employ ex-criminals, according to the website jobsthathirefelons.org. This does not guarantee a position to an ex-con who applies, but rather that a company will look past certain criminal behavior if the applicant is right for the job.