Men and women with jobs do not have time to steal, and they
do not need to commit crimes to get the rent. Of course crime has many causes,
but the simple need to take care of basic needs must be one major motive for
property crimes. Providing undemanding jobs that pay a living wage would be one
way to keep ex-convicts from going right back where they came from. A jobs
program for cons would probably save the taxpayers money in the long run.
The rate of people that are incarcerated effects the employment rate in many ways. These people are often habitually unemployed. While in jail, they may not be included in the unemployment rates and this creates false numbers. When they are out of jail and looking for work, they often have trouble finding it.
The US has an unbelievably high incarceration in comparison to any other westernized country. A lot of these people when they get out of prison have a very hard time finding legitimate work because many employers are scared of hiring them. This leads them to find illegitimate work to provide.
When people cannot find work and do not know how to use the welfare system or choose not to use the welfare system, crime is the only way to feed themselves and their families. Also, boredom has a lot to do with criminal activity. When otherwise healthy and intelligent people have nothing better to do with their time, the boredom and ennui they feel leads them to do riskier and riskier things. So as long as unemployment is high, crime rates (and subsequent incarceration of criminals) will remain high.
I do not believe the actual unemployment rate is very accurate, therefore I do not think it is actually useful for anything. The unemployment rate doesn't count people who have been out of work for a long time, these people aren't counted in the workforce total. Therefore, if you have a person who has committed a felony and is subsequently released, they aren't instantly counted as umemployed because they weren't considered part of the workforce anyway.