Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Formerly Incarcerated People On A Mission To Address E-Waste


It is hard for the people with imprisonment history to find social acceptance, however Homeboy Electronics gives them yet another chance through employment.

Dailycsr.com – 19 November 2018 – Once people re-enter into the society after they have served their imprisonment sentence, they are left to find employment which turns out to be one of the challenges, as Donnie Holland returned after twenty five years of imprisonment and was solely focussed on “finding employment”.
Applicants are asked to reveal their “criminal history” for their job profiling and upon learning their prison related past, most often they face rejection. During the reintegration to the society, the “formerly incarcerated” people have to face “several systemic barriers” and securing an employment plays an important role in supporting these people in their transition period into civilian life.
However, Holland thinks that he was lucky in the employment aspect. Homeboy Electronics Recycling recycles e-waste and employs people with imprisonment background and gives them “on-the-job training”. Similarly, Holland was also taken under its employment. At present, Holland is a driver as well as a “Customer Care Specialist” under Homeboy Industries.
Talking to Global Citizen, Holland stated:
“I’ve only been out [of prison for] two years and for 16 of those months I’ve been right here and I love it. Working here has changed my life tremendously. I get to come in and just be Donnie, be myself.
“I don’t have to worry about explaining where I’ve been and what happened. We all share that background and we’re all humbled and grateful that there was a company that was willing to take a chance on us so we can just focus on what’s happening now — that’s priceless”.
Among his daily duties, Holland gathers e-waste for repairing, refurbishing and reusing at the L.A. downtown facility of Homeboy Recycling. While, the chief executive officer of the company, Kabira Stokes said:
“I was working in the field and one thing I would see is people coming home from prison and there would be no job opportunities for them. Since there was nothing for them to do, they would go back to gangs and so often they would end up back in jail.
“I figured: it can't be impossible to hire people who have come out of prison.”
Following her “master’s degree in public policy”, Stoke concentrated on formulating a policy for the LA industry which would accept “formerly incarcerated people and others facing systemic barriers” into employment. In her words:
“I visited a recycler in Indiana who had hired a man who was three days out of jail to rip apart TVs and things like that. And when you’re an entrepreneur there is some kind of weird screw that goes loose in your head, and I was like, ‘I think I can do this. I think if I ask people for their old electronics, they’ll give them to me and I can hire some guys”.
In this manner, Homeboy Industries and Stokes company collaborated after the acquisition of “Isidore Electronics Recycling”. It has been seven years now that Homeboy Recycling has been collecting “unwanted electronics” to create printers through the plastics thus recycled, whereby they have partnered with HP to receive unwanted products from the latter. Furthermore, Stokes added:
“I didn’t think a corporation would be interested in talking about our mission, but HP is and has been great — it’s really refreshing to work with a company that creates electronics and is also actually interested in a closed-loop manufacturing process. For us to be able to be a part of that is so cool.”
However, Homeboy Recycling doesn’t end in dismantling the unwanted electronics; instead they make use of them as much as possible. Even though, Homeboy Recycling has processed and recycled more than two million pounds of e-waste, there needs to be a change in the consumer habits as e-waste seems to be the “fastest-growing waste stream on earth”, as reported by the World Economic Forum.
With the frequent phone and laptop upgrade being in trend, e-waste production is increasing while the recycling of old devices remained lagging behind in comparatively. And Stokes thinks:
“That shouldn’t be how it is. Recycling e-waste is a viable business and can help create jobs. And people handling these materials should be trained to do so safely.”
In fact, Stokes also reminds that:
“Every year in our existence we’ve about doubled the amount of electronics we’ve taken in — and the goal is to keep doubling that as we go”.