The Transformation of Second Chances

Thursday 1:00pm – 2:15pm

Session Description

In the U.S., one in three adults has a criminal record. This is about as many as those with college degrees. And each year, nearly 700,000 are released from prison to find themselves often locked out of the job market. At the same time, there are 7 million job openings in the U.S. right now as businesses fiercely compete for talent.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the Society for Human Resource Management Getting Talent Back to Work Pledge and Toolkit and how hiring people who want a chance to work is a win-win-win: it helps keep families together by decreasing the chance of recidivism, it supports a valuable talent pool of willing and trainable workers, and it gives people who have made mistakes the dignity of work
  2. Discuss the Safe Streets and Second Chances Initiative – how it is simultaneously addressing policy reforms and enhancing reentry supports in at least 4 pilot states and with a goal towards expanding evidence-driven reentry services and policy reforms and what makes this initiative and the academic research different from other reentry reform efforts
  3. Discuss the barriers that people with criminal records face, such as access to housing, jobs, education, and healthcare (mental health and substance abuse treatment), and how to build a sustainable and individualized reentry program for each person retur ning to society
  4. How to hire and to retain people with criminal records successfully

Sponsored By




Monica Roth, Moderator

Monica Roth is the Public Policy Specialist for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, which provides services to Koch Industries, Inc. and its affiliates.

Monica’s career at Koch has spanned 23 years.  Prior to joining the Public Policy team in July 2018, she served in various capacities and fields including HR-related functions within the KCPS legal department, contract negotiation and administration, immigration and intellectual property.

In her current role, Monica’s primary focus revolves around best practices for hiring and retaining people with criminal records; mental health and substance abuse issues as they intersect with Second Chance employees, and the support and furtherance of policy at the state and federal level to make our criminal justice system more fair and equitable.

Based in Wichita, KS, Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America with annual revenues of about $100 billion, according to Forbes. It owns a diverse group of companies involved in refining, chemicals, grain processing and biofuels; forest and consumer products; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; electronic components; commodity trading; minerals; energy; ranching; glass; and investments. Since 2003, Koch companies have invested approximately $80 billion in acquisitions and other capital expenditures. With a presence in about 60 countries, Koch companies employ more than 120,000 people worldwide, with about 70,000 of those in the United States. From January 2009 to present, Koch companies have earned more than 1,200 awards for safety, environmental excellence, community stewardship, innovation, and customer service.

John Koufos

John Koufos is the National Director of Reentry Initiatives at Right on Crime and the Executive Director of Safe Streets & Second Chances.

John has been widely recognized for his professional advocacy and was previously certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial attorney. He has tried complex jury trials to verdict and received numerous professional achievement awards and accolades.

John’s reentry work has been recognized by President Donald J. Trump, and he works with the public and private sector to build partnerships designed to lead to better employment outcomes and safer communities. John’s work began in New Jersey, where he helped the Christie Administration and five former Governors implement effective, evidence-based reentry services. John designed New Jersey’s nationally recognized legal program, combining staff lawyers with approximately 70 pro bono lawyers to help the reentry community clear old tickets and warrants and restore drivers’ licenses that lead to jobs.

John’s lived experience on all sides of the criminal justice system makes him a credible spokesperson. His leadership in the business community was recognized in 2016 when NJBIZ named him one of New Jersey’s “Top 40 Under 40.”  He is a regular speaker on criminal justice, healthcare and workforce development, and helps cities, states and the federal government to optimize reentry systems. John has been interviewed by a wide array of outlets including the C-SPAN Washington Journal, the Epoch Times, Sirius XM’s Beyond the Beltway and the Lars Larson Show. His commentaries have been published in the New York Post and on Fox News.

Alex Alonso

Alexander Alonso, PhD, SHRM-SCP is the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) Chief Knowledge Officer leading operations for SHRM’s Certified Professional and Senior Certified Professional certifications, research functions, and the SHRM Knowledge Advisor service.   He is responsible for all research activities, including the development of the SHRM Competency Model and SHRM credentials.

During his career, he has worked with numerous subject matter experts worldwide with the aim of identifying performance standards, developing competency models, designing organizational assessments, and conducting job analyses.   He was also responsible for working on contract task orders involving the development of measurement tools for content areas such as job knowledge (like teacher knowledge of instructional processes) and organizational climates (like organizational climate forecasting in military health care).

Dr. Alonso received his doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Florida International University in 2003. His works have been recognized for their contribution to real-world issues.  They include being recognized by the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (Division 14 of the APA; SIOP) with the 2007 M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace for the development of the federal standard for medical team training, TeamSTEPPS; being awarded a 2009 Presidential Citation for Innovative Practice by the American Psychological Association for supporting the development of competency model for team triage in emergency medicine; and receiving the 2013 SIOP Distinguished Early Career Contributions for Practice Award.

Throughout his career, he has published works in peer-reviewed journals such as Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, Journal of Applied Psychology, International Journal of Selection and Assessment, People and Strategy, Personality and Individual Differences, Quality and Safety in Health Care, and Human Resources Management Review.  He has also authored several chapters on community-based change initiatives in workforce readiness, as well as co-authoring Defining HR Success: A Guide to the SHRM Competency Model in Practice.

Dr. Alonso also served as a columnist analyzing major trends in the workforce for The Industrial Psychologist and HR Magazine. In addition, he has served on several professional society boards including the SIOP and the Personnel Testing Council of Metropolitan Washington.

Richard McLemore

Richard McLemore II, is the Executive Director of McLemore Holdings. Located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, McLemore Holdings, is an African-American culturally inclusive organization, focused on providing holistic professional development workshops, renters and homebuyers educational courses, and healing circles – addressing the underlying psychosis behind criminal behavior. He is a three (3) time college graduate, most recently graduating from Metropolitan State University – with a Focus in Psychology. Prior to his current position, Richard was the Housing Director for Ujamaa Place; while simultaneously, acting as Program Manager for Alternatives to Violence Project-Minnesota. He dedicates his time, facilitating psychosocial workshops on mental and emotional healing, for practitioners at State and Federal prisons, juvenile facilities, and county jails across the nation; Richard is also a Circle Keeper with the city of Saint Paul’s “ETHOS” Diversion program. He founded the Community Diversion Program—an extension of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) to help curve juvenile incarceration rates in Minnesota. Richard is also on the Board of Directors for “We Are All Criminals” and in mist of writing his autobiography.

Cheryl Reinhardt

Cheryl Reinhardt has been General Counsel for Zephyr Products since becoming an owner of the company in 1993. Together with her husband, Randy, who is CEO, they employ over 100 men who are currently incarcerated in Lansing Correctional Facility. These men receive a variety of job skills such as: AWS welding certifications, forklift training and certification, logistics management, manufacturing skills, computer-aided drafting skills, conflict resolution and other essential life skills and work habits. They leave Lansing Correctional Facility and Zephyr to become productive, contributing employees throughout Kansas and beyond. Recidivism consistently hovers below 5%, as compared with around 35% for the Kansas general prison population. They are able to pay room and board, and meet child support, victim’s fund and restitution obligations, as well as save money to help them get started as they reenter society.

Zephyr was one of the first work training programs of this kind in the US when it started in 1979. In the over 40 years since the program started, Zephyr has trained thousands of people and given them tools to become successful returning citizens. Cheryl’s favorite part of this work is witnessing incredible journeys of transformation as these people overcome incredible obstacles to live full and productive lives. These stories of persistence, hope, and triumph are both humbling and inspiring! Cheryl and Randy are passionate about equipping and empowering men and their families to find wholeness and happiness after incarceration.