JPMorgan Chase does the right thing

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Good afternoon,

JPMorgan Chase did the right thing in redoubling its commitment to hire more ex-offenders.

Readers seemed to agree, with the story ranking first in page views by a wide margin so far this week. Social media sharing was also widespread.

The second-largest private employer in Delaware behind Christiana Care has been working to increase the hiring of ex-offenders at its far-flung operations.

JPMorgan Chase also launched initiatives in Delaware and select cities that deal with the multitude of issues that come when offenders return to the community.

With the labor pool shrinking and a larger percentage of the population moving into retirement, the giant company did not launch this initiative as a charitable endeavor.

Corporate America can no longer ignore the fact that this state and nation locks up a larger percentage of its population than nearly any first world nation, thanks to crime-fighting policies that came with good intentions and produced bad results.

The growth of the financial services industry has not been a big help for the state’s population of people who got into scrapes with the law.

The heavily regulated industry has tough federal rules that date back to the days when the branch bank was the cornerstone of the industry. It was not unknown for a good employee to be fired after the discovery of a minor offense.

These days, many employees no longer handle financial transactions and opportunities to grow and build trust are greater.

JPMorgan Chase supports changing some of the more obsolete federal regulations and noted that 10 percent of its more of its recent hires came with a record. Luckily, JPMorgan Chase’s sheer size allows for some flexibility.

Delaware took some heat for becoming one 13 states to ban the conviction “box” on employment applications, a feature that helped keep the jobless rate for ex-offenders at about 27 percent.

The financial services company announced in a lengthy release that it will work to reduce barriers like the “box” while keeping a commitment to safety and security.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase and other organizations will need to strengthen partnerships and make further investments in efforts to deal with the issues that got us to this place. The list includes substance abuse, education, poverty, and sensible data-driven criminal justice reform.

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