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  • Writer's pictureLocal 685 Executive Board

The Saga of the “Credible Messengers”



At the June 13, 2024, Probation Oversight Commission meeting, the room was packed with members of the Scott Budnick’s Anti Recidivism Coalition (ARC) apparently seeking jobs as “Credible Messengers.” Many wore shirts imprinted with “Credible Messenger” and testified to the difficulty of getting clearance to go into Los Padrinos and Barry J. Nidorf to fulfill their job duties. Many cited several months of waiting.

 

Probation staff were surprised to hear that these job seekers had gone to the Probation Oversight Commission Meeting to tell their story. One staff member said, “My goodness! They have gone to everyone telling this story.” Of the 30-40 ARC members who stood in line to tell their individual stories, most had been in prison for 20-25 years, some without the possibility of parole. One man apparently had a 36-year sentence but is now out.

 

According to a report by the Urban Institute, many employers worry about being sued for damages resulting from “negligent hiring.” An employer can be held liable for exposing the public to harm by an employee. For example, Spectrum had to pay more than $7 billion for the murder of an elderly woman who was killed by one of its service technicians in her home. The suit alleged that Spectrum had failed miserably when it hired the killer without doing an adequate background check. Spectrum was found liable because they hired someone they knew, or should have known, was likely to harm others in the position for which they were hired.

 

The late Jitu Sadiki, who started the Black Awareness Community Development Organization, told Youth Today in 2001 that his strategy to hire only ex-offenders or ex-gangsters “in concept was good, but in reality, it didn’t work.” Some of the staff “had not really made a commitment” to turn their own lives around. They socialized with old gang friends and engaged in some of the activities, like substance abuse, that they told youths to avoid. One staffer was rearrested on drug charges; others had been fired.

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