Regarding the Jan. 28 Business article "From the jailhouse to a job":

Having both served more than five years in federal prison and worked in human resources, I know firsthand that helping formerly incarcerated people find jobs after prison is critical to making their reentry into society successful. The first step is to reconsider the kinds of work we believe people with criminal records are capable of performing.

All families, especially the families of the formerly incarcerated, need jobs that pay living wages. The U.S. farming and construction industries hire immigrants on guest visas and otherwise because the workers are easier to exploit, not because no one else will do the work. The notion that formerly incarcerated people can afford to take those jobs with poverty wages and no benefits is wrong.

Steady employment and livable wages will help formerly incarcerated people rebuild their lives and stay out of the system. That's good not only for formerly incarcerated people, it's good for our communities, too.

Teresa Hodge, Upper Marlboro

The writer is founder of Mission: Launch, a nonprofit that works to improve employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated people.