Ex-offenders often face tremendous social and financial challenges after their incarceration. However, bitcoin can offer them new ways to reintegrate back into society.
The stigma of a criminal record often jeopardizes ex-offenders’ job opportunities — and may even deny them bank accounts, due to eligibility requirements.
The number of unemployed ex-offenders will increase as more inmates qualify for early release. Often, employers are quick to reject job applications from them before an interview. However there are vast areas of opportunity in bitcoin which can offer the ex-offenders a second chance in employment, as well as a ‘banking wallet’.
Ex-Offenders and the Economy
According to latest data available, there are approximately 1.8 million working-age ex-offenders in the U.S., with the majority of them unemployed. This number translates to a loss of about $78 to $87 billion in annual GDP to the country’s economy. This demonstrates how much the inability to reenter the workforce impacts ex-offenders’ lives, and also the economy as a whole. Add in the cost of running correction facilities, and prisons are crippling the economy in other ways too.
There’s also another problem, even for the fortunate ex-offenders who find jobs — needing to receive salaries in physical cash. This is becoming increasingly difficult as physical money disappears. It further deters companies from hiring ex-offenders, to avoid the hassle of payroll departments having to set aside cash. Hence, hunting for a job without a bank account can be a catch-22.
As employment is a critical factor in reducing recidivism, helping ex-offenders in getting a job is an important factor for society and economic wellbeing.
What Can Bitcoin Offer?
Unlike big banks and organisations, bitcoin wallets offer free digital financial capabilities to anyone. Also, bitcoin neutrality offers ex-offenders “bank accounts” without the need to declare any of their personal records. Increasing use of bitcoin salary payment services like BitWage at a growing number of organisations creates opportunities for employment without a bank account.
Conventional Opportunities in Place
The government has plans and incentives, such as the Second Chance Act (SCA), to assist ex-offenders in re-entering working society. However, these are not sufficient as such initiatives require organisation’s willingness to put their measures into practice to be effective. According to the ‘Felon Friendly Jobs’ website, employers feel that ex-offenders pose a threat to the other employees or are capable of causing other trouble.
Most ex-offenders would try their luck with companies that embrace the above-mentioned initiatives. A small number of them look for loans, i.e. the Federal Pell Grant, in hope to start their own business. Nonetheless, getting approval for these grants is still considerably difficult.
Network of ‘P2P Banking Systems’
Discrimination and low self-esteem are strong forces that push away ex-offenders from persisting in their job hunt, especially after multiple rejections. However, the growing presence of online industries leveraging bitcoin can offer a second chance and more — a job, a ‘banking wallet’, and a hideout from the discriminatory public by working from home.
Not all ex-offenders are seeking for a hideout. Charlie Shrem, bitcoin entrepreneur and an ex-offender, has faced the media. Recently he announced the launch of a new company called “Intellisys Capital”. In an interview, he said:
“One out of every ten prisoners [in my prison group] were white collar criminals”
These are the white collar offenders who would likely lose their positions in conventional society after their incarceration. Plus, these are the ones with the capabilities to contribute to society in big ways. Henceforth, the ‘P2P banking system’ removes banking obstacles that ex-offenders face. It gives them an alternative avenue to continue contributing their strengths to various industries.
Network of ‘P2P Freelance Employers’
Apart from P2P banking system, the ‘P2P freelance employers’ that leverage on platformsthat use bitcoin can offer the ex-offenders yet another method to earn themselves a living.
To wrap up, the invention of bitcoin has shed some lights to organisations and the public on how to cross the conventional hurdles and problems that the society faces. From the inability of opening a bank account, near-zero job prospects, and the social stigma that comes together with a criminal record, bitcoin has not fallen short of worthy contributions to the society and economy.
Share with us what other ways you think bitcoin can offer the ex-offenders another chance in life.