COUNCIL ENACTS LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING RE-ENTRY EMPLOYMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
Program Encourages Employers to Provide “Second Chance” for Residents Returning from Incarceration
The Prince George’s County Council, during session on Tuesday, May 18, unanimously passed CB-019-2021, establishing a Re-Entry Employment Incentive Program in Prince George’s County. The Re-Entry Employment Incentive Program, administered by Employ Prince George’s, encourages employers to hire Prince George’s County residents who are returning from incarceration with a financial incentive.
Under the legislation, qualifying employers would be reimbursed at a rate of five dollars ($5.00) per hour, up to 40 hours per week, and a maximum of 1,000 hours for each 12-month period of employment following the hiring date of a qualified employee. Reimbursement is dependent upon the availability and allocation of funds in the County Budget.
Council Chair Calvin S. Hawkins, II, sponsor of the legislation, noted the employment barriers formerly incarcerated residents often face, and the importance of leveling the playing field for them and the community.
“Finding gainful employment is a hurdle for ex-offenders, and the inability to find work can lead to recidivism. We want to have programs in place that support formerly incarcerated persons and help them become productive members of our community. This legislation will help reduce recidivism rates by encouraging businesses to hire them and provide a second chance. I appreciate the support of the entire Council in this effort.”
At-Large Council Member Mel Franklin, co-sponsor of the legislation, says the Re-Entry Employment Program incentivizes employers to give residents a second chance.
“Employment is one of the biggest ways we can stop the revolving door that takes people back to prison. This legislation will be another tool in our efforts to reduce crime, improve quality of life, and get people employed.’
In other legislative action, the Council adopted CR-050-2021, expressing support for declaring the week of May 16 - 22, 2021 as National Public Works Week in Prince George’s County; and CR-051-2021, expressing the County Council’s support for declaring May 21, 2021, as Bike to Work Day in Prince George’s County, as part of National Bike to Work Week, May 21-27, 2021 in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Region.