WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Finding a job these days isn’t easy. It’s even harder for those with felony convictions on their record. Ex-offenders will tell you, checking that box on a job application saying you have a felony conviction is almost an automatic no for most jobs, but Winnebago County’s Resource Intervention Center is finding work for a lot of them. The RIC works with 17 companies that hire these non-violent offenders.
One of those companies is the Winnebago County Landfill. It uses four to six temporary workers every day and during busy times like the spring, the landfill sometimes uses 15 to 20 temp workers a day. The RIC program started after county leaders learned of the high recidivism rate among ex-offenders. The hope is if they have a job, they’ll stay out of trouble.
“Have a job is what life is really all about. When you can take care of your family, take care of yourself, and sustain your household, it just makes you think differently and a person that has something like a good opportunity with a good job, he’s not going to take the risk to make mistakes and do something where he can be incarcerated.
Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen says by getting these ex-offenders work and keeping them out of trouble, he says they’re staying out of the court system, saving taxpayers money.
We’ve found this appears to be a very popular program among ex-offenders. Most of the 17 companies involved don’t want their names used because they’re worried they’ll be inundated with calls of ex-offenders looking for work.