Tapping shunned labor pool produces excellent results

Lessons learned: Hiring ex-offenders pays off, but the workers need help

Sitting at her kitchen table in Chester, in her moments of deepest despair, Dayna Chandler, 33, began this calculation: Maybe her three children would be better off if she were dead. A former bank teller, she had a criminal conviction for theft, had been in prison and hadn’t been able to keep a job for four years, not with that record, even though it was only a misdemeanor.

Supermarket hires former inmates; finds business skills

Now he slings ice cream, instead of cocaine; ShopRite finds talent in former drug dealers

One in an occasional series, part of a collaborative news project about the challenges – and solutions – of prison reentry in Philadelphia. When Jeffrey Brown looks to promote employees within his 13-store supermarket chain, he looks for people with hustle, ability, commitment, all that.