Should hospitals and healthcare facilities make a concerted effort to employ ex-prisoners? Why? What might be some of the constraints? Has anyone been successful at such a hiring practice?
Hospitals and healthcare facilities should seek to hire ex-prisoners, especially facilities in Black and Brown communities. Since the 13th Amendment was ratified, Black Americans, especially Black men, have been convicted for crimes as a result of bias legislation from Black Codes, Nixon’s War on Drugs and Clinton’s three strike laws. Black and Brown children have also been tried as adults which lead to excessive sentences (Stevenson, The 1619 Project). Hospitals and healthcare facilities would have to hire ex-prisoners on a case by case bases, however. Human resources at healthcare facilities need to carefully analyze candidates’ criminal records and cases, especially those convicted of murder, rape, and sexual assault, to make sure the rest of their staff and patients are safe. A psychological evaluation by a psychiatrist should also be required. Ex-prisoners have done their time; a mistake one made when they were younger should not define them for the rest of their life.
Sophie Quinton reported that hospitals such as John Hopkins have hired people with criminal records for low entry-level jobs in food and janitorial services as well as housekeeping, in her 2017 article “Matching Ex-Offenders with Hard-to-Fill Healthcare Jobs.” She noted that entry-level jobs at hospitals are extremely hard to fill and crucial for hospitals to work efficiently; ex-prisoners who filled these positions would work harder and stay with the employer longer compared to a hire without a record. These workers would also be able to get healthcare through their employers, which is consistently denied to African Americans since the smallpox pandemic after the Civil War (Interlandi, The 1619 Project).