PALMYRA, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, June 18, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — Over the past several decades, incarceration rates have risen dramatically, raising questions of how former felons can reintegrate after they have been incarcerated.
Formerly incarcerated people need jobs like everyone else to support themselves and their loved ones and pursue their dreams. Of course, ex-prisoners typically fare poorly in the labor market. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their incarceration, hiring a former felon is seen as an unnecessary risk.
Carolyn Herbert is the creator of Herbert’s Wine Jelly, a gourmet, award-winning specialty food product, but what is truly unique is Herbert’s hiring practice: she hires individuals who were formerly incarcerated or struggle with mental health issues.
“We had a family member with mental health issues, and it was next to impossible for this person to attain or retain any job,” recalls Herbert. “He does have a felony conviction, which made it doubly hard. I’d retired from 40 years as a special education school administrator and I felt that there was something that we could offer that was really needed.”
With her family member in mind, Herbert and her husband took their wine jelly idea and decided to start their business. As their popularity grew, they were able to expand into a more formal company and decided Herbert’s Wine Jelly would be for people who may not otherwise find employment.
“We are not just jelly, we are whatever helps provide fulfilling employment to our employees,” says Herbert. “Each person decides when they come in what their role should be. From where they are, they come up with what they want to do to be a part of our company. One young man came up with Herbert's Herb Dip to go along with our jelly. Another came up with peanut butter products.”
Herbert and her husband take nothing from the company; 100 percent of all profits go back to the employees. When employees come home from incarceration, they will have a stockpile of money to buy toothbrushes, razors, clothes, new shoes, anything that you would need to begin to start over.
“I'm trying to right an injustice,” says Herbert. “Money is nice, but that's not my focus in this world. My focus at this point is what I can do to help the next person and the next generation step forward. This is not a handout. They must work for what they receive.”
Herbert’s Wine Jelly has already helped take two employees off all federal assistance.
“That's really what my business is about,” says Herbert. “Yes, we make a nice product. Yes, we need people to support of our products to expand our kitchen space, but I am so proud of these guys, especially those who are currently incarcerated. They're not bitter about being there. They have hope and they share that hope with the other people in there. Some of them may not be out for another 10 years. What do they have to be hopeful about? Well, there is somebody on the outside who is willing to support that hope.”
CUTV News Radio will feature Carolyn Herbert in an interview with Jim Masters on June 20th at 10am EDT
Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio
If you have any questions for our guest, please call (347) 996-3389
For more information on Herbert’s Wine Jelly, visit www.herbertswinejelly.com
Source: EIN Presswire