Noting that “ex-felons are among the most challenged populations” in getting work, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi announced he will be proposing legislation to encourage businesses to give this population a chance. Under the legislation, a San Francisco business would be entitled to a tax break for every ex-felon it hires. This would stimulate businesses while at the same time help re-integrate and harness the talents of people with criminal pasts.
No doubt, this idea will be subject to ridicule. It is easy to conjure inflammatory scenes of businessmen with wire-rim glasses, briefcases, and suits being shown the door while thuggish ex-cons in striped pajamas take their paychecks and place. But the truth is that no law tells businesses who to hire. People with criminal convictions (even convictions decades old) will remain the subject of stigma. This legislation simply offers firms an incentive to give them a chance.