According to a new report by the Florida branch of TaxWatch, employment is critical for reducing recidivism and keeping restored citizens from returning to prison.
Florida’s over incarceration problem has cost its taxpayers billions of dollars. Also, according to William Patrick at Florida Watchdog, the state currently has around 100,000 prisoners—the third highest amount among the United States.
Furthermore, since 85 percent of those 100,000 prisoners will eventually be released, the authors of the report contend that it is imperative for them to find employment, which will increase their chances of staying out of prison. According to Patrick, if just one prison were to close due to reduced recidivism, Florida taxpayers would save $280 million.
Finally, the report concludes with the following recommendations: adding prison vocational programs, post-release employment services, and a tax incentive for employers who hire “qualified, rehabilitated ex-offenders.”
While tax credits that complicate the tax code, distort incentives, and favor some at the cost of others are problematic, Patrick nonetheless helps to highlight the many important benefits of employment for restored citizens, which include reduced recidivism, enhanced safety, and even cost savings for taxpayers.