The Times podcast: Now hiring! Formerly incarcerated people

Thomas Urioste and Carlos Arceo, former felons and employees at U.S. Rubber Recycling, with CEO Jeff Baldassari, center.
Thomas Urioste, left, and Carlos Arceo, right, employees at U.S. Rubber Recycling and former felons, with CEO Jeff Baldassari, at their headquarters in Colton.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

There are about 20 million people in the United States with felony records and unemployment rates among the formerly incarcerated is especially high — 27%, a few years ago, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Compare that with the overall unemployment rate around the same time, which was less than 4%.

The stigma of a criminal record has long influenced this reality, but with the Great Resignation unfolding before us, the situation for these folks seems to be looking up.


Today, we’ll hear from L.A. Times business reporter Don Lee, who has written about the issue, and from someone who’s working to connect formerly incarcerated people with jobs — and who was formerly incarcerated himself.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times business reporter Don Lee and Honest Jobs CEO Harley Blakeman

More reading:

Once shunned, people convicted of felonies find more employers open to hiring them

Tight job market is good for felons, people with disabilities and others who are hard to employ. But can it last?

Visit the Honest Jobs website

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra and Shannon Lin and producer Melissa Kaplan. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editors are Lauren Raab and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.