HR & Compliancelegalprison

We Don’t Hire Convicted Felons! Raising the HR Bar’s Blog may Change Your Mind!

Scanning media for great examples of what to do or what not to do, a great blog came across my desk the other day and frankly it was worth a read and then a second read.  One of my clients proudly stated at a meeting where I was hired as their keynote speaker, “We don’t hire convicted felons.”  Hum…well here’s a link to the original blog – “Does Your Hiring Policy Exclude Ex-Con’s?  Watch Out!”  Perhaps you, too, will be interested in this eye opening blog post!

Convicted FelonWhat caught my attention is the content related to new EEOC guidelines regarding the use of criminal background data in employment decisions.  This material is important and worth the time to read.  It is reprinted in it’s entirety below.

This is a guest post by Joseph H. Harris, Partner, White Harris PLLC.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new set of guidelines concerning the use of criminal background information in employment decisions. The guidelines should serve as a reminder to employers, and their attorneys, that they cannot automatically exclude from consideration all job applicants with criminal records. That includes applicants with felony convictions.

To be clear, the EEOC does not require employers to ignore criminal background information. However, it does restrict the manner in which employers may use that information to exclude an individual from employment. Employers who fail to abide by the EEOC’s new guidelines could find themselves charged with disparate impact discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, even if the policy is applied uniformly to all applicants regardless of their race, age, gender, or other legally protected characteristic. One company recently settled a case with the EEOC for $31 million for its policy which automatically excluded anyone with a criminal record from employment. In addition, in its recently released Draft Strategic Enforcement Plan, the EEOC listed recruiting and hiring discrimination as its top priority.

  • Arrests. A prior arrest cannot, in and of itself, serve as the basis for excluding an individual from employment. Under the law, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, employers may consider the underlying facts of the arrest. If those underlying facts bear directly on the job in question, then excluding the individual would be permissible.
  • Convictions. Employers may not maintain blanket policies making a prior conviction, even for a felony, the basis for automatically denying employment. Employers may, however, adopt narrowly tailored policies stating that certain specific jobs cannot be held by individuals with criminal convictions for particular offenses. For such a policy to be in keeping with the EEOC’s guidelines, it must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. In other words, there must be a link between the “specific criminal conduct, and its dangers, with the risks inherent in the duties of a particular position.” To meet that standard, employers have two options. They can use empirical data to establish that link (an expensive and time consuming task). Or, they can establish a targeted screen by considering the following three factors: the nature and gravity of the crime that would serve as the basis for exclusion, the amount of time that has passed since the crime was committed or the sentence completed, and the nature of the job at issue. In addition, employers are strongly encouraged to engage in an individualized assessment to determine whether the exclusionary policy should apply. As part of that assessment, the employer should notify the individual that he or she has been excluded because of a criminal conviction and give the individual an opportunity to demonstrate why the exclusionary policy should not apply due to the particular facts and circumstances of the case. The employer should then consider whether the information provided by the excluded person warrants an exception to the policy.

The EEOC has provided the following list of factors that employers should consider to ensure that their exclusionary policy and screening process is consistent with the new guidelines. “The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct; [t]he number of offenses for which the individual was convicted; [o]lder age at the time of conviction, or release from prison; [e]vidence that the individual performed the same type of work, post conviction, with the same or a different employer, with no known incidents of criminal conduct; [t]he length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct; [r]ehabilitation efforts, e.g., education/training; [e]mployment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position; and [w]hether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.”

A word of caution for employers: It is the EEOC’s position that Title VII preempts state laws that require the automatic exclusion from employment of individuals convicted of certain offenses. This puts employers in a difficult position and may present them with an impossible choice: Abide by state law and exclude an applicant with a criminal record, but face the possibility of EEOC charge for violating federal anti-discrimination laws, or follow the EEOC’s guidelines, hire the individual because the targeted screen and individualized assessment does not warrant an automatic exclusion, and face liability for violating state laws.

About the author: White Harris PLLC practices exclusively in the area of labor and employment law, representing management. The firm counsels businesses on how to comply with local, state, and federal employment laws and represents them in court, before government agencies, and in alternative forums such as arbitration and mediation. For more information, visit http://whiteharrislaw.com.

Mr. Harris is an alumnus of Oxford University and a graduate of Haverford College and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is admitted to practice in the state of New York and in the federal courts in the Southern and Eastern districts of New York. He is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and the Labor and Employment Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

WOW…at some level this is a game changer!  As a convicted felon, I understand the challenges that many face with seeking employment.  I have, in fact, been denied more than one job because of my criminal background (guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion for a crime in 1986/87).

Today I work with multinational companies primarily in ethics and fraud prevention, but it would appear that another prospective challenge might be how firms deal with this EEOC change.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!

Join the discussion 191 Comments

  • I think that is a great move forward for people who may have made some life changing non violent mistakes and need a reprieve in life. Maybe they never had a chance to begin with.
    Greetings to change. It is due. Some are a women and mothers, taking care of a family, etc… fathers and children who don’t need to be punished also for what their parents did— everyone deserves chances… be less judgmental and more committed.
    ~ciao

    • Nunya says:

      non-violent?! I’m so sick of the pandering! is everything else less criminal?! oh- everything else is just fine- but don’t hurt anyone. if other crimes didn’t hurt ‘someone’ in some way, they probably wouldn’t be illegal! you idiots!!!

    • mrpirate408q says:

      To whom it may concern,
      ya so true i regret taking a set of keys and knowing it was a stolen car driving it just for fun then getting arrested i barely turned 18 did my time on top of that (Felony), did a early release program which required to work two jobs i had my new born son and regular job at the same time completed my punishment etc everything good standing 10 years i repeat 10 years until today jobs turn me down i dont lie on my application (Have you ever comiited a crime) many jobs have turned me down society turned me down every time i looked at my son and daughter i felt bad i struggled for 10+ years i used to cry out of frustration for a decisions i made when i was 2 1/2 weeks after turning 18 my kids my wife and i paid the price for my fault i wanted to go back to jail so many times because i felt i was suppose to stay there am free today since 2006 wish i had another chance i love this country and wouldn’t want to go anywhere else (born and rised here ppl) its not just punishing me its punishing my little boy and daughter and my family their innocent

      • administrator says:

        Every choice has a consequence and some of us (I, too, am a convicted felon) will experience those consequences the rest of our lives. The issue however is not what you did and when you did it, but what you are doing today. Make different choices! Quit applying to organizations that are biased against convicted felons. Work for companies that don’t have that bias…they are out there! You can be a winner or a whinner…I suspect you are a winner, so quit whinning and make different choices. If you feel my response is too harsh…call me and we can talk. Visit my website and put your information in the contact page. I will call back.

        • Matt says:

          9093776568 I am a convicted felon with a violent crime, I am 40 years old was 18 at the time and it still affects me today I have other felony crimes (mostly drug sales related) served 5 years in California prison system and now work for myself where overcoming many obstacles still is very disheartening. I have come far but it still is a daily struggle and I’m still searching for solutions to help me overcome my obstacle!

    • Keith Thomas says:

      This blog/article is useless. It’s bullshit that employers don’t utilize/ partake in blanket policies concerning felons. Think of all the potential talent that employers are losing out on.
      And seriously, tell me why bloggers are SO AFRAID of listing employers who won’t hire feelings? The ONLY WAY change comes around is by holding people/companies responsible for their policies. The same is expected for us individuals. The same SHOULD be expected for businesses.

  • ready2work says:

    In about a year all my felonies will be 5yrs behind me. I told my probation officer that no one will hire me. And that’s whyI am behind on payments. He told me to try McDonalds. I can’t truly survive on $7.25/hr. I’m 33 with responsibilties. My email address is kreed1891@gmail.com for those who want to come up with a plan to fight this discrimination of felons. There is power in numbers. Please contact me if you agree.

    • Selene says:

      2 and half years searching for the right job ..over 2000 job applications filled in my working sites enrolled into ..not one will take me
      I speak 4 languages
      Type 52 wpm
      Earn certification through the state to be a personal care assistant
      Went to college training course medical terminology.
      Nothing they won’t take me a drug felon from when I was a teen ..

  • lawson1974 says:

    Don’t be felons

    • ready2work says:

      Don’t step in a conversation you can’t relate to.

    • what a dumb statement people make mistakes but they should not have to pay for them for the rest of their lives and if you are without sins then you can cast the first stone but I am quite sure you are not so just stay out of a conversation if you have nothing positive to add to it.

    • Duende says:

      Dont have so many damn laws, matter of fact there are over 5000 federal laws and over 3000 state laws. Now prove to me that you never broke one.

    • Duende says:

      Yeah companies say that its the insurance companies that won’t bond so they will not hire but if they do hire they do a trick that call waiting. “We don’t hire unless the conviction is 5 , 7 , 15 , years old.

    • Butch says:

      Don’t be a felone !!! My question to you is have you ever smoked dope used illegal drugs stole anything drove drunk assualted someone embezzled money defrauded someone then you to are a felone that hasn’t got caught . how many felones or ex felones do you know that was hired on a job that re offended ? How many people do you know or heard of that has committed crime’s ? Postal SHOOTINGS they weren’t felones state and government officials & workers committing CRIMES embezzlement fraud CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY exfelones aren’t committing these crimes police officers putting drugs on the streets stealing drug bust money saving hot guns taken from crime scenes I believe any one working under the color of law should be held to a higher standard I believe they should have random drug testing I believe they should be constitional sound .

    • sherri says:

      some ppl are so dumb this really is upsetting to see ppl as dumb as some of you guys. im a convicted felon, i know how hard it is… im so ashamed i live with people like you guys

      • administrator says:

        Dear Sir, I am writing to say thank you and bless you for your article. I am not a convicted felon, but I am a business owner who believes in 2nd chances. One of my best employees ever was a person who had made a lot of mistakes in their life, but was willing to work very hard to turn their life around when given the chance. Please continue to spread your message as far and wide as possible. Where there’s hope, there’s life.

    • Robert says:

      Don’t judge someone for what they have done. You don’t know the situation they were put in or haven’t walked in their shoes. Breaking the law is never ok but to continue to cause that person more hardship makes no sense. It’s something the judicial system doesn’t want to pass because if ppl are capable of getting good jobs and not put in situations that could lead to criminal activity then judges, lawyers, and that whole system would lose jobs due to a significant decrease in crime. The harder these assholes make life for people the more crime there will be. That is just job security for law enforcement, and the judicial system.

    • Christina says:

      With all due respect everyone in this world can and will make mistakes, and often times people do not plan to become a felon like a person plans to go to college. Unfortunately life is uncertain and please keep that in mind because you say don’t be felon like it’s that simple and it’s not. If you look at the way the world is currently you have very powerful people who commit crimes and don’t feel that they should be held accountable for their actions and they will fire everyone who attempts to file charges or expose their criminal activity. So do you think that their thinking about your statement ” don’t be a felon “? All felons I am sure would change all that they have to get rid of the Ugly F. There so many innocent ways to become involved with criminal conduct and not even knowing what is going on. It can happen in both world’s the Haves & Have Nots but at the end of the day people can change. Haven’t you made a mistake

    • Kera E Moseley says:

      There are others who were wrongly convicted. I am paying for being a whistle blower and I knew there might be repurcusions and there were. So I made the choice to do the right thing. But the reality is that i am a convicted felon and nothing can change that. And I accept that reality. Was it fair or just – hell no
      But it is what it is. Ironically I worked in prisons and jails and wrote all of the initial reentry grants amd programs for the state of louisiana.

      I am not a victim but have been heavily victimized just like the majority of ex felons. And also deal with the post trauma and depression in the reality that my life and career were destroyed.

      I also cannot find work. And I have tried. Not that it matters but I have a master’s and doctorate and several licensures. And it doesn’t matter. Even McDonald’s won’t hire me. I also have a family to support as a single mother and struggle every day to keep a roof over our heads.

      I think, ex offenders need to unite and educate everyone on reality. Reality is that in a state like where I live 30% of all adults here are ex felons. And I can pay to get my CDL and drive a truck or get my twix card and go work offshore. Or go back to school and I need another degree as much as I need a hole in my head.

      Not only can we not find decent paying jobs we are criminalized and stereotyped and will forever live with the stigma.

      Even uber and lyft won’t hire me. I have scoured the internet and the vast majority of all of it is bullshit. And I say that as a doctor in research. Not to impress but to prove the point that finding a good job is about a 2% likelihood and crapshoot unless you know someone to get you in.

      We cannot be expected to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps when we can’t find or afford boots.

      So trashing fellow ex-felons by anyone is unacceptable. Period. Unless you have walked in our shoes. And even those who have and are ex felons should feel grateful if they do find a job and not trash others as being whiners or acting like a victim. I’ve worked with inmates in prisons and ex offenders for 25 years. Never did I think I would ever be one.

      But I am. That is my reality. And I accept it. Deserved or undeserved. But tearing people apart and downplaying how we are treated by EVERYONE does not help a single felon. It only makes them feel worse.

      Please consider this when replying on any blog.

      Thanks

      • administrator says:

        Well written. I want to be clear, as i hire felons today, and I am a felon – I don’t trash someone who expresses their difficulty in finding work. What I do say is its possible. If you live in a world where you say it’s hard, you attract hard. When you live in a world where you say and believe it’s possible – then it’s possible. I prefer possibilities!

      • Ben Johnson says:

        What you are experiencing is not unusual. Society still has legal discrimination when it comes to people with convictions in their background. Most people seem to think that it can never happen to them or their loved one..until it does.

        Reform is happening but slowly & not really with housing or employment. If you want to make your voice heard, join with an advocacy group. The National Incarceration Association (https://joinnia.com/) is working for change & promoting awareness of the collateral consequences for people & families with convictions. Add your story to their site & help make a difference.

        Unless this country is prepared to make every felony conviction carry a life sentence of incarceration then the powers that be need to work harder to make sure that once released, a person can find safe housing & a job. Right now, for many people, jail or prison is the only place they have that will give them a bed, food & clothing.

  • jharp26 says:

    I was just told in an interview over the phone that was recorded that sense my felony isnt over 10years old they could not consider me for the job is that legal as soon as I told him about it and it was 7 years old he said he couldn’t hire me because they weren’t 10 years old

  • People make mistakes and learning from those mistakes are powerful tools. Yes I am a felon and looking for work. As soon as you are asked if your a felon you must be honest and tell the potential employer. My resume was great according to one employer until she asked if I had any felonies, Of course I told her the truth and of course as the old saying goes “The truth shall set you free”, well I was told I prob. wouldn’t get the position because of my felony. So I was set free. Now I am becoming more and more frustrated not being able to find a job. I don’t want to have to look to Government agencies for support. I am willing to work, but it looks like I may have to get Government assistance or starve.

    • Chuck Gallagher says:

      Sandy…look in places where others don’t. For example – major companies won’t hire convicted felons (just a fact of life), but many private companies will. Develop a relationship with a company in a field where many don’t want to work, and then you’ll find doors open to you. I wish you the best.

      • Ready 2 work says:

        I’m trying to figure out what places actually will hire me. I have no violent offenses. Places that actually pay enough to make a decent living.

        • Jim says:

          I have for convictions, all violent last one feb of 2008 no trouble since. I have been hired by:
          FedEx – courier
          United States Forest Service- firefighter
          US Post Office- carrier
          BNSF Railway- conductor
          All since my release. This EEO is bull though. UP railroad offered me a position and rescinded it cause my felony wasn’t seven years old. ( It was January of 2015 30 days from being 7 years)

      • Robert says:

        That is ridiculous. Saying that a person should not be given the same opportunity to be hired by a big company or possibly a company who pays well because of a conviction. You and people who allow employers the right to discriminate against someone based solely on a felony conviction are exactly what’s wrong with this country. Thats like saying you don’t deserve any better than 12$ an hour because you’ve made mistakes. All people should be treated equally even ones who made mistakes along the way

  • Susan says:

    It’s a shame that people are receiving life sentences after serving their time. If they are being rehabilitated then maybe the state government should be required to hire them first. People should be given an opportunity to work and not ask for government handouts which keeps them in a state of poverty.

  • patty says:

    I was convicted of several crimes forty years ago. I am 61 now and unemployed for the first time in those many years. Now thanks to google etcetera people, employers can do a background check on you. I did one on myself and low and behold on a scale of one to ten I scored a nine for nonemployment. It didn’t list my arrest record but it basically excluded me from being employed! The long arm of the internet is killing me. Help!

    • Chuck Gallagher says:

      What did you use to gain the nine for nonemployment? I’m a convicted felon and have found that it has not hampered me in gaining employment. Perhaps you’re looking in the wrong place. Open to talking via phone if that might help you. Chuck

      • depending on the type of employment and state they live in it may be harder especially if they have no formal education. things like this are what is keeping most of them from finding jobs and there may be other stipulations as well that hinder them from gainful employment so every case is different. if you have suggestions get in touch with me I have a friend who needs help with employment who is a felon and it is very hard for them and they have an education but still no one wants to hire them.

      • Chuck different felonies can have different consequences to not being hired you are a felon of a white collar crime that is totally different than other crimes.

      • Keith says:

        I need help Chick convicted felon looking for some help because I am striggling to find anyone to talk to I don’t know how old this is or anything but any information you could provide would help thanks

      • Christina Allen says:

        I would like your input because I have a felony and I apply for jobs on ZipRecruiter nothing happens please help me. I need a job I am in the United States my charge is in D.C..

  • Robert says:

    I am a felon I have been out here ab out 12 years. Took a course in Human Resources though a university my typing speed was above the hiring manager by 40 worlds a minute I had plenty of skills professional attire if I would of had a chance I would of by now been in a home owner .

    I know alot of people want felons to suffer even if we change heck and do our time. Personally I feel more minorities that run HR firms can use us desk top publishing etc. also note that many ex-felons are hard workers and great multi taskers many have minor drug charges from way back when they were kids.

  • I am a convicted felon.I have recently started a blog at http://www.achooworks.WordPress.com. I would like to be able to slander the man who refuses to hire somebody because of a poor choice they made. But then what would that make me look like? Please do not misunderstand what I’m saying. No I don’t think a child molester should be offered a position in a high school. I don’t think some one with repeated retail thief should be offered a job in a bank.
    I do believe that if I owned my own business I would like to look at who I’m hiring and their background. But would I simply deny somebody a job just because they were convicted of a felony or would I deny somebody a job simply because they were at the wrong place at the right time? No! My personal opinion is, is everybody makes mistakes. Everybody deserves a second chance and everyone should have the chance to prove that they’ve learned from their mistakes.

  • Michael says:

    This is completely retarded in every way possible. Once the employer has access to your criminal record they automatically disqualify you for the job if you are a convicted felon in this job market. I do not want to hear this crap about blah blah blah I am a felon and I found a job. Yeah, 1 out of what? 5.85 million? Do you have robbery charges? Attempted murder charges? Large scale drug charges? I do and I can tell you that if you even have 1 of these charges, good luck finding a job. Did I mention I was 17-19 when I committed these crimes. Grew up in the ghetto in New York, with no family, no friends, but a gang. I spent many numbers of years in prison for these crimes, wasn’t that enough? The C.O’s (Correctional Officers) beat me, they humiliate you, gangs always want to fight, blah blah blah. I did my time and now I do more even though I am still out. Yeah, employers will not hire you because of insurance reasons and/or they are discriminate assholes, who like to judge on past and appearance rather then here and now. It is either the way I look (tattoos) or my criminal record. There are no chances in this country, you are given the chances that your family provide you (which I had none). Sorry, America is not a country, it is a business.

    • administrator says:

      I can understand why you’re having challenges. With an attitude like that it’s no wonder that life is hard. Ever thought of changing your mind about yourself and your plight?

  • Paula says:

    After reading the article, I was wondering if I have any recourse? The dumbest mistake of my life landed me a 5th-degree felony, probation & fine only. No longer on probation. I was offered a position with a large employer in Columbus OH. The recruiting firm I was working with knew of the felony, relayed it to the company interviewer who “went to bat” for me with upper management. The outcome: “All felonies must be older than 7 years.” To me, that sounds like blanket discrimination since (a) I was a good match for the job, and (b) the felony conviction was the only reason the job offer was rescinded. Any comments?

    • Check with the EEOC. As a woman you are a member of a protected class & they may have violated Title VII laws. I understand your frustration & why it seems you have an attitude. Knowing that you are the best person for the job & that without the label you’d be hired is enough to knock anyone down. But keep trying. Become an advocate. Contact Gary Mohr with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. He just spoke at a conference about 2 weeks ago on improving prisoner re-entry. He acknowledged the need for employment for people with convictions. Tell him reform isn’t working.

  • Jane says:

    Just had a job offer retracted because of a felony DUI from 2010, which I disclosed, both at application and at the on boarding process. I was a perfect fit, provided stellar reviews from two previous employers and the position is in an office environment, not on the road. This should have no bearing on my work ethic or my capabilities for this position. I paid my fined, completed probation (early) and completed months and months of both group meetings and outpatient treatment. I dont think that this should be the sole reason for the offer being retracted as every other aspect of my background check was clear. Anyone else have a similar situation? Thoughts/suggestions? Apparently, this will continue to happen with any company I apply at… (looking for employment in the mortgage industry, and successfully passed a background check with my last employer in 2012)

  • Ray says:

    June 19, 2014 I was released after serving 19 years….
    I am unemployed…..
    the government has a tax break for any employer that would hire me I am looking for solutions as to the insurers who insure to companies that will not hire me
    I am willing to get background insurance from the company that will hire me that is worth over a million dollars I will not complain about paying my insurance on my background insurance if they hire me I see that as a working solution when a portion is going to the homeless or whatever charity win win situation to show my character my integrity and my demeanor as being sound ….
    if there’s a such thing as renters insurance there shouldn’t be any problem with creating insurance for felons after so many years maybe 5 with a company, the policy could be dropped,I truly want to Work ,I truly want to do right, I truly want to move on with my life…
    please well thought out comments Solutions and answers keep your ignorance to yourself thank you

  • Duende says:

    Yeah companies say that its the insurance companies that won’t bond so they will not hire but if they do hire they do a trick that call waiting. “We don’t hire unless the conviction is 5 , 7 , 15 , years old.

  • Jim says:

    I was released on January 29th after a 2 year sentence, I started my 1st job on February 9th, making $13/hr. Got my current job making 60k a year on 7/27. If you are persistent, have drive, and in my opinion have a needed trade, you are able to get a job making livable money, even with a F2 drug charge. I have also gotten a 2nd job just because I want to buy myself a new truck. Since coming home I have been able to purchase a house with my wife and kids, and buy my wife a new car, so it can be done.

    • administrator says:

      Congrats Jim. Wonder if you’d like to be interviewed by me for my radio show – Straight Talk – about your experience?

      • Jim says:

        I would definitely be interested in that. Can you see my email from your end? If so just email me the details and I will get back with you. Thanks

  • This is the ultimate self-esteem corrector. Thank you for your post; it is a very important distinction 
    Employment News in India

  • Ben Johnson says:

    Finding a job with a felony conviction less than 7 years old is almost impossible. How are you supposed to live if no one will hire you until the conviction is 7 years ago or longer? If your sentence was short, you need to work right away. Even if you’re honest & the conviction wasn’t job related, no one wants to risk hiring someone that might get them bad publicity if it was found out that a felon works there. My brother has had 16 white collar job offers in the past year & all 16 rescinded them once they learned of his conviction. It doesn’t matter that he has a college degree, 10 years experience & excellent references. He wows them at the interviews & gets offered the job but once they see what’s on that background report they forget about the great person they were so hot to hire. He is suddenly toxic. He is willing to do whatever it takes to prove he’s not a risk & would work harder than anyone just for the chance. It’s tragic that 2 years ago the courts gave him a 6 month sentence but society is punishing him for life.

    • administrator says:

      Ben…have your brother call me. You can be hired and I have many examples where that has happened. See my contact tab on the website and let me talk with him. You’re comments show your frustration, but the one thing that always works is do what other people are unwilling to do. I started selling cemetery property door to door and ended up a Sr. VP in a Public company. Open to talk to him if he’d like.

      • ken says:

        i have been of out prison since 1999 i worked at this pizza company since then but now i got laid off. i have 20+ years of managerment. i go to job interviews they want to hire me put soon as my backround comes up oh sorry your great for the job put we can’t hire you.

        • administrator says:

          So tell them your background before they run the report. If they won’t consider you because of that, then move on. Not telling on the front end means distrust on the back end. There are folks that will hire convicted felons but it begins with total honesty on the front end.

  • Nadia says:

    I really do believe that people deserve a second chance. I think its very difficult to judge someone by there conviction alone as every circumstance and case is different. If you are out looking for a job than obviously you changed your life around and are doing the right thing. The funny thing is that i can guarantee that alot of felons would probably work even harder because its so hard to get a job. I am a first time felon that received probhation for a drug charge and i graduated college. I disclosed this on my application and went in for the interview and they loved me so much i was hired on the spot. Over the next couple of weeks i completed my physical, received my badge, my parking permit etc…until i got a call saying the offer was retracted because of my felony. I was a perfect fit and i wasted over 5 days of my time for nothing. It killed me more to know that because of my past i couldnt have the job and if a company doesnt want to hire felons than they should double check everything before wasting someones time and getting there hopes up

    • administrator says:

      Why didn’t you tell them in the first five minutes of the interview that you had a felon conviction. You see, based on what you said, you deceived them by not being forward on the front end. If I were hiring you I’d let you go too. I would take it that while you didn’t hide it based on the background check, you weren’t willing to tell me the truth up front and failing to do that destroys the trust needed to hire you. If you’d like to talk about what you need to do, give me a call. You can reach me through the contact tab on the website.

      • Ken says:

        She claims she disclosed it on the application. And let’s be honest, 90% of employers aren’t even going to bother to interview you if you indicate on an application that you’ve been convicted of a felony. So Nadia probably assumed (erroneously as it turns out) that since this company was still willing to interview her despite her disclosure, that it was a company that believes in second chances, and understands human beings are fallible and make mistakes.

        And why would you encourage someone to disclose a felony conviction in the first 5 minutes of an interview? Shouldn’t she try to put her best foot forward and make the best impression she can right out of the gate? Maybe she should just list it on her resume instead? Or better yet, as she shakes the interviewer’s hand, “Hi, I’m Nadia and I’m a felon. Shall we proceed with the interview, or should I just walk out the door now?”

        I’ve had two jobs since being released from prison. Neither company asked about prior convictions, and I did not tell. They either did not do background checks, or simply didn’t care.

        I’m currently unemployed. I’ve been getting interviews, I interview fairly well, I do well on assessment tests, have a good looking resume and have been told I have a solid work background. I have a bachelor’s degree and years of relevant experience, can type 65 wpm, yet once my felony comes up it’s an automatic disqualifier. And I disclose the felony up front (not in the first 5 minutes of the interview, I want to sell myself first). If it’s asked on the application, I check the box and write “will discuss in interview”.

        The EEOC guidelines are just that, guidelines. It’s not a law, it’s ambiguously worded, and it’s quite easy to still get away with a blanket ban on hiring felons, as most companies still do exactly that. It has no teeth, not to mention most felons would have a tough time proving a company violated the guidelines, assuming they had the resources to pursue legal action, which most felons don’t.

        Just what are you trying to sell here Chuck? False hope? America is NOT the land of second chances. Platitudes and slogans are nice and all, yet politicians still trip over themselves to enact new legislation closing more and more professional (and non-professional) jobs and careers off to felons, all in the name of public safety and appearing “tough on crime”. And where the law does not explicitly forbid the hiring of a felon, company policy (unofficial of course) almost invariably does. I’m familiar with the Ban the Box movement, but let’s be honest, there is not a lot of political will to do anything about felon employment discrimination. Age discrimination is illegal, but it still happens, and it doesn’t get a lot of press, even though it’s a significant problem. And as long as people with a spotless record struggle to find viable employment, I can’t imagine those same people advocating for felons like myself to have a fair chance at employment, because it would mean even more competition for jobs.

        The US has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. There are too many people, politicians and companies that benefit from America’s prison-industrial complex. Recidivism isn’t a bug; it’s a feature! Felons are set up to fail. It’s job security for all the DAs and prosecutors, judges, public defenders/pretenders, bail bondsmen, private prisons, prison contractors, etc. So here’s a novel idea Chuck: tell the truth, instead of spreading false hope.

        “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
        -George Orwell

        • Ben Johnson says:

          Amen Ken! You are spot on with your assessment. Once the conviction comes up, the possibility of employment goes down. My brother has a college degree & 10 years excellent IT job experience. Since his conviction (he served 6 months) he can’t even get a job as a corporate banquet server at a company owned by a guy he goes to church with! I’m sure there are some employers out there that would hire someone with a conviction. The trouble is finding them. It’s like throwing a dart blindfolded & hoping you hit the bullseye.

          I wish Chuck had answers. There are over 65 million people that have a conviction on their record. If all it took was determination then most of them would be working.

      • Nunya says:

        do you realize how many records are not easily accessible (usually older)- that people do lie and get the job. know someone who had a DUI and is a school bus driver. i know someone else who had a felony drug conviction at 18, and is now a paramedic. quite a few people get past the dogs. you’re just too stupid to know it.

  • Ben Johnson says:

    You are 100% right. In our experience, employers disregard everything positive once they hear the word felony or conviction. Instead of Ban the Box they need to Ban the Bias. It doesn’t matter that 5 minutes before you were the most qualified person. When they find out about the felony you suddenly become untouchable, like it’s contagious. We have seen it happen 16 times wit my brother. Great jobs where they made offers with start dates but once the background is mentioned the offers are pulled with no discussion. It didn’t matter when the background was mentioned. They still rescinded the offer. Honesty isn’t appreciated. They are still not going to hire you. This happened at single owner businesses as well as large corporations. Everyone can do background checks because they’re cheap & easy. I even saw a job for someone to pick up trash from dumpsters outside an apartment complex. A background check was required.
    I urge everyone to go online & sign every petition regarding the labeling of people with convictions as well as discrimination in hiring. Moveon.org & Change.org have several petitions now. We need to get attention to this legal discrimination. Nothing will change if we don’t start making noise for ourselves.

  • Ken says:

    I hear you Ben. Supposedly, in a handful of states, employers are not allowed to go beyond 7 years in their background checks (with exceptions of course: law enforcement, healthcare, education, etc.). But even in these more “enlightened” states, that begs the question: how is someone supposed to survive during those initial 7 years? Not to mention that if someone can make it to the 7 year mark without reoffending, the previous 7 years is going to be filled with periods of unemployment and underemployment due to felony employment discrimination. So even if (big “if”) the conviction is no longer an obstacle, employment gaps and menial employment on one’s resume most certainly will be an obstacle. And who is to say that whatever company they use to do the background check only goes 7 years back? In other words, they might discover a 10 or 20 year old conviction not to their liking, and then decide not to extend an offer of employment. Good luck proving that the company violated any law.

    I hate to be a cynic here, but it sounds like Chuck is simply trying to financially capitalize on a very vulnerable and desperate population, while refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the social and economic ramifications of America’s addiction to incarceration and perpetual punishment. Intentionally or not, Mr. Gallagher is minimizing the scope and scale of the problem, and he’s also suffering from a case of self-serving bias. He thinks that because he made it, anyone can. And yet in my own experience and research, successful ex-felons are the exception, not the rule, and this is primarily due to systemic discrimination, as opposed to individual factors. Roughly 1/3 of Americans have some type of criminal record (including arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction), and around 1 in 12 Americans have a felony conviction. That amounts to millions of Americans being branded as second class citizens, unemployable and sentenced to a life of poverty. How keeping millions of people on the margins of society (or forced into the underground economy) makes us safer or serves the greater good is beyond me.

    I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for any type of remedy any time soon. We live in arguably the most punitive, vindictive and unforgiving country in the world. There is no argument regarding our rate of incarceration (we’re #1 in both total number and percentage of our population). And even though your sentence ends, your punishment never does. In America you get punished for being punished. I can assure you that other advanced nations view our draconian criminal injustice system with utter contempt and disbelief. And let’s not forget that here in America, there is a two-tiered criminal justice system: one for the wealthy and connected, and one for the rest of us. You get all of the justice you can afford.

    It would appear that for 99.9% of those with a felony conviction, our only options are self-employment or low-wage, dead-end, menial work. And let’s face it, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Even if you have a viable business plan and the capital necessary to launch it, keep in mind that about half of small businesses survive for 5 years, and about 1/3 of businesses survive 10 years or more. Those odds are certainly better than the odds we face trying to become gainfully employed by someone else, but again that is assuming you have a good business plan and the resources to launch it.

    We’ll just have to do whatever it takes to survive, and hopefully avoid having to resort to illegal activity in order to do so. My long term plan is to eventually try to save up enough money to leave the US, and never come back. America is morally bankrupt, and it’s no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy (specifically, a plutocracy). It is ruled by the rich, for the rich. Money is the ultimate good in this country, and not having money (or enough of it) is the ultimate evil.

    Good night, and good luck.

    “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.”
    -George Orwell, “1984”

  • jesusnjess says:

    I have been employed with a company for 15 months, and my felony was disclosed on my application and discussed in my interview. The hiring manager has moved on to another career recently, and a new HR manager has come in. It has since “come to light” that I am a felon. I am now suspended until further review. Meh.

    • Ben Johnson says:

      It seems that no matter your qualifications or job performance, it’s the background that matters. Society has no compassion or willingness to give a chance to people that get labeled as a felon. Even if years have passed there is no relief. Maybe they need to go back to penal colonies & isolate everyone with a conviction. Imagine the surprise when they see how many millions of people will be going. Until it comes close to you it’s easy to be judgmental. Hope you can beat the odds & stay working.

      • Ken says:

        I wish everyone the best. I think America is waking up to its mass incarceration problem, although I also think talks of bipartisan criminal justice reform are nothing more than empty rhetoric. As long as money rules the day, and politicians use fear mongering to get elected and re-elected, I don’t hold out much hope for change. Plus there are a lot of vested interests in maintaining the status quo of the prison-industrial complex. Hearts and minds must be changed, but one of the biggest problems is the dehumanization of anyone who commits a crime. In America, crime isn’t just something you do, it’s someone you are. Hence the derogatory terms “felon”, “criminal”, etc.

        Educate yourself, take care of yourself, maintain your dignity, fight the good fight. That is my recommendation. A little bit of gratitude can go a long way, as we are fortunate to be outside the gates, even if we aren’t truly free in terms of civil rights. My worst day on the outside is almost always better than the best day I had while incarcerated. We can always be free inside our minds though. “We’re all doing time”, as Bo Lozoff would say, whether we wear a DOC number or a corporate name tag, in a cellblock or in a cubicle. One of my biggest struggles has been not to internalize all of the rejection and the social stigma that comes with the label “felon”, and not to become overwhelmed by cynicism, although the truth can sometimes be misinterpreted as cynicism or pessimism.

        There are some great minds who are not blind to the injustice of the American Gulag, nor oblivious to how counterproductive collateral consequences are. I would recommend picking up “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander for starters.

        Also, research leaving the US and becoming an expat. I know it’s not a realistic goal for everyone (especially those with young children), but it could be a viable option for many.

        One final note, there is a ray of hope in the darkness. I read this article today regarding Philadelphia’s amended ban the box law, which appears to go further than most and sounds like it actually has some teeth to it:

        http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2016/03/14/philadelphia-ban-the-box/

        Good night, and good luck.

        “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
        -George Orwell

  • Ken says:

    I also discovered the Collateral Consequences Resource Center:

    http://ccresourcecenter.org/

    Good night, and good luck.

  • Ken says:

    I hear you J.Williams38@yahoo.com, you make some very valid points. And you’re correct, with the exception of a few brave souls, hardly anyone will advocate on our behalf, we must do that ourselves. Although here in Florida, I cannot advocate with my vote, nor can millions of others who have had that right taken away by Mr. Medicare Fraud Felon himself, Rick Scott, and his legislature full of Republican cronies. And don’t even get me started on the Florida DOC, arguably the most corrupt and under-funded corrections department in the US (just google “Florida DOC deaths”). But I digress.

    I think your first sentence is debatable. You wrote, “You can have a host of felonies and still be employable.” I think that depends on a lot of factors, but from where I’m sitting, ANY felony conviction can and does close off the vast majority of legitimate employment opportunities. Granted I haven’t reached the 7 year post-release mark (I’m coming up on 4 years since release), although in my particular home state of Florida (aka Flori-duh), I’m not sure it would make a difference.

    I’m not trying to split hairs here, and I think it would serve us well to focus on unity and common goals, versus getting hung up on which particular felonies or types of felonies make it more difficult to find employment. I hear what you’re saying regarding violent convictions (even misdemeanors) and the stigma they carry. On a personal note, I have a burglary conviction. It’s been my experience that I’m untouchable for any company that asks about prior convictions, even with relevant experience, a solid resume, and a bachelors degree. So you could make the case that any conviction for theft, larceny, or burglary is viewed just as badly as a “violent” crime. But I can also tell you that even though “burglary” doesn’t sound like a violent crime, my home state of Florida classifies my particular type of burglary conviction as a violent crime (burglary of a dwelling). I can’t even imagine the stigma and hassle that comes with a sex crime and the label “sex-offender”. I know there are some really sick and twisted people in this world, but there is a ton of injustice as well, and you often hear stories of 18 year old guys having sex with their 16 year old girlfriend, her parents find out and get angry and pursue a case, and some poor guy has to register as a sex-offender and live with that stigma for the rest of his life. So you’re right, there is no nuance or common sense, we really do live in a fear-based, cruel, impersonal, vindictive society.

    That is the crux of the issue, in my opinion. America’s draconian criminal justice system is a reflection of the hearts and minds of the American people. We don’t believe in rehabilitation, only punishment. We want revenge, not restorative justice. We’re motivated more by fear than by faith, ruled more by emotion than rational thought, and we value money over everything else, including human life and human dignity. And as I’ve already mentioned in another comment on this blog, as long as people with no criminal record struggle to find viable employment and make ends meet (hence the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders), I don’t hold out much hope for employment and housing discrimination against those of us with criminal records to end. America is not only an outlier in terms of how many people we lock up (more than any other country in the world, in both sheer numbers and percentage of population), we’re also an outlier in how we treat convicted criminals post-release. The U.N. really should step in due to how massive the scale of human rights abuses is here in the so-called “land of the free”. Yeah, in America you’re free alright: you’re free to starve and free to be homeless. Of course, the U.N. has concluded that solitary confinement is torture (and psychologists agree), but that doesn’t stop the US from doing it on an a massive and unprecedented scale.

    So there are my two cents, for whatever they’re worth. Some would call me a cynic or a pessimist, but I think I’m a realist. I’m just pointing out the dark underbelly of the beast that “normal” American society is either blissfully ignorant of, or simply doesn’t have the courage to confront. I don’t think the system is sustainable though. It’s been estimated that around 1 in 4 Americans have some sort of criminal record (including arrests that never led to conviction), and around 1 in 12 Americans has a felony conviction. That is almost 80 million Americans and 27 million Americans, respectively. There is simply no way we as a country can continue to dehumanize and marginalize millions upon millions of Americans (sometimes permanently). Something’s got to give.

    In all honesty my attitude on these issues does waver, even if my thoughts on mass incarceration and the collateral consequences of conviction are fairly consistent. I find that I oscillate between cautious hope and optimism, and outright anger and hopelessness. I’m often somewhere in between. I’m blessed with enough awareness to know that a lot of my personal problems started way before I ever received the 21st century scarlet letter (aka a “felony” conviction), and those issues both indirectly and directly led to me becoming a permanent 2nd class citizen. On the subject of labels, I’ve been labeled dual-diagnosis, meaning I have co-occurring mental health issues (depression and anxiety) and a substance abuse disorder. My mental health issues preceded my substance abuse, and my substance abuse was my attempt to self-medicate. I also have a family history of substance abuse, physical violence, premature death and instability. Not looking for sympathy, just stating facts, and it does play in to the discussion at hand. The reality is that those with mental health and/or substance abuse issues are more likely to find themselves involved with the prison-industrial complex, and in many ways prisons have become America’s new mental health institutions. The role of poverty can’t be overlooked either, as poverty is both a cause of, and a consequence of, a criminal record.

    Sometimes just talking to someone who understands, or typing out your thoughts, feelings and frustrations, can be of great benefit. I think anyone who wants to work, and has the ability to work, should be able to do so, regardless of their past transgressions, with common sense exceptions regarding law enforcement, working with children and other vulnerable populations, etc. I think we need massive criminal justice reform in this country, and we need massive reform with regards to the applicability and availability of criminal records. If my health records are off limits to a prospective employer, I think the same should also apply to my criminal record and credit history, with few exceptions. Believe it or not, that’s how it works in other, more advanced and more civilized nations. It’s past time for America to join the rest of the civilized world and embrace a more humane and rational approach to criminal justice and ex-offender reentry. Don’t hold your breath though.

    • T says:

      In Florida, the adage is “once a felon, always a felon”. The Florida Times-Union ran a piece about a guy who hadn’t re-offended in twenty years but still couldn’t get a job or housing (beyond the lowest blue-collar crap) and an official was quoted as saying “even though his last conviction as 20 years ago, he could offend again tomorrow”. That’s why Florida sucks. You cannot vote, can be denied admittance to colleges or universities, cannot get a job, cannot get an apartment, and can be denied on a loan application, but if you reoffend you are told you “didn’t learn your lesson”. Well HELL, why SHOULD anybody come out of a Florida DOC and even TRY? All of these laws against felons and Florida is NO safer in terms of crime.

      • Ben Johnson says:

        Florida isn’t the only state that does that. Georgia is just as bad. Society continues to punish people long after their court ordered sentence is served. If you treat a person as less than human by denying them the ability to work, live in a safe environment & try to regain some sort of a life then what do you expect to happen? They are doomed to fail & return to the only place that will take them- incarceration. Please go to Moveon.org & Change.org to sign petitions aimed at changing the lifetime punishment of people labeled with a conviction. If we treated minorities or disabled people like we do people with convictions there would be such an outcry for change. This is legal discrimination no matter the charge or conviction.

  • jeff says:

    Just got told the company we applied at thru the temp service, did not hire anyone with an assault conviction. No matter how long ago it was. Been 12 years since it happened. Was supposed to be off record after payment of fines and one month probation. Do I have any recourse?

    • administrator says:

      Check with an attorney to see if you can get it removed. Otherwise, nothing that I know of goes off ones record even after paying your debt so to speak.

  • Rps Abque says:

    Good idea instead of allowing them to work an honest job, let’s give felons as much free time and reasons to be depressed and pissed off as possible and force them to obtain other means in order to feed themselves and their kids. SMART!!

  • Rps Abque says:

    Good idea, let’s give felons as much free time as possible and force them to a life of crime so they can feed themselves and their kids! SMART! Whew – I’m so glad I live in a culture with all perfect people.

  • Trev Man says:

    Yeah let’s make sure felons have as much free time as possible…. plenty of time to become experts at crime so they can eat!

  • Sonia says:

    My daughter is one year into a three year treatment plan in lieu of conviction for drug possession. She just got fired from Kroger’s after working there for two weeks because of a failed background check, even though she told them on the application about her charges. The local hiring manager told her she really liked her job performance, and would hire her again if she could clear up the background check. My daughter has been clean for a year, trying very hard to turn her life around, and it is just gut wrenching to see her struggle to even get a job. Being that she can’t drive, her employment options are already limited. She has no home, living with another family on their charity alone – court will not allow her to live with our family because she must stay in area of conviction for probation period. How are people supposed to come back from drugs and former bad decisions if we don’t even give them the chance to support themselves? Luckily, if she meets all the conditions of her treatment plan, she will be able to get her record sealed after two more years. But reading all these blogs and other websites about the difficulties other felons face who are not so fortunate as to have their records expunged is certainly depressing. I would guess that the same people who look down on welfare and able-bodied people begging in the streets are the same folk who proudly state they would never hire a felon.

  • David says:

    I’m fresh out of the feds and it’s a you know what trying to find a job. I have applied to hundreds and hundreds of companies. I am getting the interviews and phone calls but when they ask my why did I have a break in years or what have I been doing since that time I explain to them what happened; I don’t use “I’m a felon.” After I tell them that I made some choices that have led me down a wrong path and that I have been in recovery for the last 4 years they still shoot me down. I just had a job offer making $23 an hour but when the background check is done I am shot down; I was honest with them and they still offered the job.
    I have come to realize that I never will find a job and I have come to realize that the people who say they are compassionate, do give second chances, and they have your back before going to prison are the same people who turn their backs on you when you get out of prison.
    I would love to see just one of these SOB’s walk a step in my shoes and I bet they could never.

    • administrator says:

      David – feel free to call me at 828.244.1400. I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you. When I read your post I hear the frustration in your voice. Yet, that same frustration and anger is also an obstacle to your success. Perhaps we can talk thru this…as I am too a convicted felon and I know that it is possible to find success and employment. The ball is in your court.

  • dds8892 says:

    Thank you administrator for the kind words. No matter how much research I have done before going to prison, I could never be prepared for what the feelings or obstacles were going to be like after the stint in prison. Where I live people here do not give second chances and this is one of the biggest bible belts in the country. I have tried to explain to the best of my abilities trying to minimize the conviction but the background check is what is going to get me all the time. I have spent an average of six hors a day, five days a week at my local employment office submitting my resumes and to no avail; NO ONE IS GIVING ME A CHANCE!
    I have a degree in computer networking with years of experience and I have a total of 18.5 years in the U.S. Navy, but because of my rock bottom moment three years ago I lost my naval career and govt. IT job. This has been a nightmare that will not go away.
    I will call you when I get a chance and thanks again.

  • administrator says:

    Hope you do call. I live in the buckle of the bible belt and I have not had your experience. But I have a different perspective. You are looking in the wrong places with the wrong attitude. I can’t change either, but I can challenge your thinking and, if you’re open to being a victor not a victim, perhaps change your outcome. Call me!

  • 2xF says:

    You just have to keep trying. Once you give up than there is no hope at all.

  • Stephen says:

    Its tough, no doubt about it. I’ve got an 8 yr old prescription fraud conviction on my record and that’s it. I wrote in my name on 3 pre-filled prescription slips and used them to acquire painkillers (I was an addict), which is a FELONY in AR. Got caught, obviously. Did 5 yrs probation, which i completed without incident. Since then, I’ve tried very hard to overcome the past, but to no avail. I’ve cleaned up, got in shape, went back to school and earned my BA (summa cum laude, 4.0gpa). But employers just don’t care about any of the good things I’ve done since my conviction.They act like I killed someone. I only got in trouble once, and the only person I ever hurt was me, but that doesn’t seem to matter. As it stands now I’m 35yrs old, flat broke, big student loan debts, single, no friends (cut the negative influences out when I cleaned up) and no prospects for the future. Who would want anything to do with someone like that? Any hope for future happiness depends on making money, but with no one even willing to give me a chance it’s very very VERY hard to keep the despair at bay.

    • administrator says:

      Employers don’t care is not true. Many don’t for sure, but there are plenty of companies that will hire. Don’t look for the big boys, rather find companies that a privately owned that understand we all can make mistakes. I work for such a company and they recently hired a convicted felon straight out of prison and he’s doing great. It can be done.

  • Stephen says:

    ” jesusnjess: March 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I have been employed with a company for 15 months, and my felony was disclosed on my application and discussed in my interview. The hiring manager has moved on to another career recently, and a new HR manager has come in. It has since “come to light” that I am a felon. I am now suspended until further review. Meh.”

    This post is perhaps the most disheartening of all, because it shows that, if you have a record, you’re NEVER safe. You could be a “valued employee” of multiple years and still get fired, no questions asked, because of your past. I hate to say it (and it frightens me greatly, tbh), but in the USA, anyone convicted of a crime = subhuman. Sure, there might be someone, somewhere who would give you a fair shake, but any conviction makes it open season on you, for the rest of your life

    • administrator says:

      Form your own business. Then you can never be fired. I know it’s hard, but as a convicted felon I also know it can be done.

      • Ben Johnson says:

        “Form your own business. Then you can never be fired. I know it’s hard, but as a convicted felon I also know it can be done.”

        That may be an idea but forming your own business isn’t easy & finding customers is even harder when you have no references of customers to show. My brother gave up trying to find a job working for someone else after he was offered 16 great jobs in 1 year & they all were rescinded when the background came up. So he decided to start his own business. He made $180 his 1st month & it hasn’t gotten better. Last year his income was $8,000. How do you pay a house note & eat on that? His previous job paid close to $100,000 a year.

        You have been successful & that’s great but my brother had a great attitude, education & experience. Unfortunately, the felony carried the most weight. He couldn’t even get hired as a corporate banquet server with a company owned by a guy he went to church with who knew him & his history. That guy had a blanket policy of no felonies.

        If you have solid advice & a plan that works I wish you’d participate in the HIRE Network (http://hirenetwork.org/) seminars on Fair Hiring. Maybe you can help convince employers & government agencies that banning the box means more than not asking. It should mean that the criminal background is only 1 of the factors to be used. These people want to work but they need someone to take a stand for them & say this is legal discrimination.

  • dds8892 says:

    Damn!! That’s tough Stephen and I am sorry to hear this.
    Update!! I did find a job but it only pays $7.25 an hour. It’s a start but I will never be satisfied to work this job or make this money because I am better than this. Don’t get me wrong I am grateful to work but I am and will never settle.
    I am getting the calls for IT jobs and I have disclosed that I am a felon. I had a start date to work IT and during the interview I even told them that I have a felony on my record, they were fine with that but when the background came back they pulled the job; wow!!
    I am seeing that this is damn near impossible to find a job with this felony. I refuse to let the government win and I will beat them, so when I get that good job I will smile in their faces and enjoy it.
    My crime was a non-violent crime but it was a computer crime which is the sticking point for me. I am an excellent IT and I can run circles aroung the best of them. I have worked all three tiers in the IT industry and I am a combat veteran too. As you guys know this doesn’t matter because we are all percieved to be the scum of the scum.
    Godd luck to everyone and I wish it was easier but we all have to keep grinding just like when we were behind those barbedwire fences.

    • Ben Johnson says:

      Your story is so similar to my brother’s. He too had a great IT job & a future that had unlimited potential. After his conviction he had 16 great IT jobs rescinded because the conviction was more important than his education, experience, certifications & references. And he only had to serve 6 months! There are no assistance programs for people like you & him. They’re all designed for the people with less education who need job training or skills help. If you have a white collar job & get a conviction , you can just about forget about finding someone willing to hire you. I hope you find someone willing to give you a chance. It’s sad to see talent wasted when someone wants to work so badly.

      • David says:

        @Ben Johnson…….Wow that sounds about right but I refuse to give up because if I do that means the FEDS win and I will not let them. I have a burning inside to succeed in the IT field once again; I am getting the calls and interviews and one day it’ll hit. The day I went to prison is the day I told myself not to let the feds beat me ever again.

  • Chuck,
    After reading through the many comments and websites regarding felony convictions, Ive come to the conclusion that I’m not alone in this struggle.

    You claim with hard work any felon can overcome the past. Your a liar …..

    As many of us know all to well the mention of a felony is a death sentence.
    Every company that I’ve applied at or interviewed for has turned me down any postion.

    This morning I had a job offer with a trash company went through the entire interview process. What I learned is no matter how hard I try not even a trash collection company will hire me.

    My felony is over 10 years old stop feeding these people false hope your doing us all a great in justice.

    btw Ive applied at hundreds of positions only to be told never mind we made a mistake…

    • administrator says:

      I’m a liar? As a convicted felon that became a Sr. VP in a public company and now a COO in a division of another public company and owner of my own business…I find it amazing that you’d hold on to the victim mentality of being oppressed vs. exploring how you can escape the chains that seem to bind you. There are clear methods for finding work and success following prison. So here’s a challenge to you. Call me at 828.244.1400 if you want to talk about how to find your success. Otherwise, to readers of this blog…don’t listen and get caught up in the BS that being a convicted felon is the kiss of death. Yes…there are challenges and I face them just like you, but you can be a victim or a victor – that’s up to you!

  • Ross says:

    I’ll take that challenge. Thanks for responding, I’ll gladly talk with you maybe you can give me some insight as to why no matter how hard I try I get knocked back ten steps.
    Don’t get me wrong I’ve worked very hard to overcome my past its been a uphill battle.

    • administrator says:

      Call at will…happy to help. You inspired me to write another blog to provide some clarity. But look forward to your call!

      • Ross says:

        Thanks I look forward to speaking with you. I’m sorry for calling you out on your own blog, I just had to see for myself that there are still people who truly understand our struggle. And your not just some blogger who is trying to sell us false hope of a better tomorrow when they have no clue how hard it actually is.

  • Lisa Flippin says:

    I am a felon and a recovering Chronic Alcoholic. Between 2003 and 2005 I had several DUI’s which resulted in a felony. Over the years I have been in 11 treatments including a prison treatment program for 120 days. I was in a program we have in Missouri called DWI Court. I kept relapsing and ended up in a Missouri State Prison. I got out of prison and went back in to DWI court where I left off. After I got out of prison, I called a Nursing School to see if they would take felons; nope. So, I enrolled in a community college and went part-time and graduated with an Associate Degree in Accounting. I graduated the DWI Court and was released from probation. I was given my right to vote back. There is also a Drug Court and the attendees get their felony erased; not DWI Court participants.
    My felony was a DUI in 2004. I had a stupid lawyer that kept putting off the court date, therefore my “conviction” date was in 2008. So, points were not added to my driver’s license until 2008 which suspended my license another 10 years. I have not legally driven since 2005. In 2011, I tried to get a LDP (hardship license). My same stupid lawyer nor the commissioner told me that I had 2 months to get an ignition interlock device, SR-22 insurance and give random drug tests. So, not employed, I could not afford this nonsense. So I didn’t get my LDP. I am not able to get my license back until 2018. And, when I do go get my license in 2018, I have to have the IID, SR-22, etc. after not driving for 12+ years. This is a racket! Just another way to punish us. I personally don’t think that it is fair, but who am I, just a felon! I have paid tons in DWI Court costs, legal fees, court fines, spent quite a bit of time in and out of jail and finally 120 days in prison. Isn’t that enough already? I’m a felon, I can’t get a job!
    I have to keep putting off my student loans because I can’t get a job. I have other debt as well which I won’t get into right now. So, if I ever get a job, I have quite a bit of debt to pay off on top of at least $400 a month for IID, SR-22 and whatever else is involved with driving. How am I supposed to live?
    I am currently living with my long-time companion in a very rural town. He is a Vietnam Vet and he is on SS and VA disability as well as his own mowing business. We live on what he makes, which isn’t much! There is nothing here and no jobs unless I want to commute 45 minutes to Springfield, MO. Well, I can’t drive so I cannot commute. I want to move back to Springfield so that I can get back to socialization and to be closer to my Mom who has lung cancer. So, basically I have no job, no money and no life!
    About a month ago, I started looking for employment in Springfield. Since I have an accounting degree, I chose to search for employers that do a lot of accounting. I went to our local Career Center and took a class for people with felons and how to deal with them on applications, etc. I applied for an A/P position at O’Reilly Automotive (headquartered in Springfield, MO). I got a call and did a phone interview with HR. I also had to do skills assessments. Well. They decided to go with other candidates. The HR girl got me an interview with A/R. The interview went well and I thought I had the job. They went with another candidate. I have no idea if the felony had anything to do with it or not. They will never tell you! I gave up on O’Reilly. I have been filling out apps online and submitting them. If it asks if you have a conviction I write in that eleven years ago I was convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol. I write that I completed DWI court. I also write that said conviction does not represent the person I am today.
    I tried another big company! I filled out an online app for Bass Pro. I got a call to come in for an interview. I walk up to the Bass Pro Base Camp door and printed on the door, it says “We Do Not Hire Felons”. So, that immediately put me on edge. I met with HR and then I met with the A/P Supervisor. The interview went great. I have no doubt that I could have done the job both at O’Reilly and Bass Pro. I never heard a work back from them. I applied at Expedia and never got an interview. No large, reputable company will hire felons.
    I have all of the skills necessary to do either job but, because I have a felony from 2004 I can’t work for any good company. I need medical insurance and I can’t afford the so-called Affordable Care Act!!!
    I just wonder what job I would have if employers didn’t do background checks? I feel violated and discriminated against! You know, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business what happened in my life years ago. I have paid for my mistake yet I keep getting punished years later.
    I have been sober for almost 4 years! I am intelligient, creative, knowledgeable and I deserve to be working! I went to the large companies because I know they will stay in business and they have medical benefits. I knew going in my chances were slim but, I tried anyway.
    I just turned 55 in August and I need to get back to work. I have had some seasonal jobs but not a career. I can’t pursue a career because of my felony.
    I find myself getting very down at times. It is so frustrating to know that you can do the job but, because of past, an employer won’t hire me. It just seems so unfair.
    I was told back in DWI Court that we can fill out an Executive Clemency application to get the felony pardoned/expunged. I did that in 2011. I met with a probation and parole officer and she interviewed me. She forwarded the application to Missouri Board of PP. I received a letter from the Board of PP and they said that they had sent it on to the Governor’s Office. I read that it takes 18 to 24 months. It’s been years. The Governor hardly ever pardons anyone. I have sent letters for years and still get the same form letter stating that it is under review. That’s a joke! The governor recently signed a bill that felons can apply to get their felonies expunged in 2018. It takes 2+ years for a bill to become effective? WTF! I can’t wait that long. Our judicial systems sucks really bad!
    I feel like I am just wasting away! I have so much to give an employer yet because of my crazy stupid past, I can’t excel in my life! I can’t have a career with a felony! It’s impossible. I would even like to start my own business but, my credit doesn’t look that great. I love taking pictures of my flowers, and I have even thought about selling them. Everything takes money which I don’t have because I can’t get a job because of mistakes I made years ago! It is so frustrating. I feel like I wasted my time going to school. I have tried so hard to get my life straightened out and all I get is knocked down.
    Yes, I did make serious mistakes in my life. Yes, I struggled with chronic alcoholism for most of my life. But, I am sober and that says a lot! I almost died several times. I was able to quit all on my own. I never liked AA and that was all they preach in treatments. I think AA is a wonderful organization and I stand behind anyone willing to get sober! It just wasn’t for me. I wanted to drink times when I left the meetings!
    I would like to know HOW we can get a bill to Congress to stop the discrimination against felons. If you ask me, this background and credit check situation is very discriminatory! I personally don’t think that employers should be able to see your mistakes or your credit history. It’s none of their business what happened years ago! There has to be something we can do! Now I know how Black and Hispanic people feel! It is so unfair!
    I am sorry for my mistakes and I have paid for them. I am so thankful that I never hurt anyone. I believe that I was born an alcoholic and my whole life has been a real challenge. I am ready to work and no one will hire me because of a stupid mistake that has branded me for life!
    I would be willing to do whatever it takes to change our laws on felony discrimination! It is so unfair!

  • Bruce Locke says:

    I work for an office supply chain that is not Staples.. the job is part-time, and pays little. A position recently opened up, and I was offered that position and told I would need to go through another background check/drug test, since I would be a “key carrier.” I did not get the job because of my felony record, which does not include drugs, violence, or theft, and in no way would interfere with my ability to do the job (which my manager offered me). The crime stemmed from an inappropriate relationship nearly twenty years ago, but I was still turned down for this position. I believe this is carrying justice just a wee bit too far. At what point do we get done being punished?! Call me Jean Valjean, I guess, but perhaps my employer has stepped over the boundaries of their legal requirements? Does anyone have any input on that? It would be greatly appreciated, as I’m fairly frustrated working twenty hours a week at low pay, and being turned down after demonstrating my ability for over three and a half years! If there is a case here, I’m willing to pursue it.
    Thx,
    Bruce in Cleveland OH

  • Bryan Lavon Magee says:

    I too am a convicted felon. 9 years since I was convicted of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery. I however have had a few good jobs but am currently unemployed. I am looking for jobs in the wrong places hoping for a chance but to no avail. Maybe it’s time to stuff mt pride in my pocket and take whatever is available. Places like KFC, McDonald, fast food chains and warehouse wor. The thing is I have no experience in those areas because I’ve always worked in clothing, show and sneaker retail. I live to deal with people not boxing packages. Even though I wouldn’t mind u just ride off the notion that God’s delay is not necessarily denial. It keeps my spirit afloat but my pockets are drowning. My fiance and kids are really struggling with my inability to provide…
    Please help

  • administrator says:

    How about giving me a call next week. 828.244.1400

  • Jason smith says:

    It’s not enough jobs in the USA anyway for everyone this wrap sheet bullshit is just a way to disguise the lack of opportunity in America being an self made individual is the way it’s so many ways to beat being a slave anyway I don’t need a big daddy boss to limitize my income ima stay on the grind most likely there was a maggot ass honkey that came up with this method of mistreating other human beings I’m not saying this trying to dehumanize him check out history this is his record

  • Jason smith says:

    Because when you think about what does a criminal record besides rape have to do with performing on a job it’s just a way to keep the bomb lit America should be trying to insure that felons do vet hired to keep them from robbing,killing and dealing in drugs it’s all job security for America bro it’s simple math

  • David S says:

    Update:
    Since the last time I posted I have found a job. I work for a printing company that prints news papers. The job only pays minimum wage but I did get a raise, so I am making $8.00 an hour now; I am really upset but I know this is it and for the next 30 years I’ll be working jobs like this. My felony is a computer crime and I plead guilty in 2015 because it was either spend more time in prison than I had to; you guys know what I am stating. I have a degree in Computer Networking, I have over 13 years of experience in the IT field, I had 19 years in the Navy, I lost that because of me pleading guilty, I was working for the U.S. Government when the wolves came and got me, and now I get calls for interviews but when I tell them that I am a felon they decline. The closest I’ve gotten was at Duke Power for a IT Support position, I was offered the job that same day because of my quals, I told them up front about the felony, but once their background check came back the job was pulled.
    I am 47 years old and I have the certs and degree and experience in all levels of IT but because my crime was with a computer I am now relegated to working as an unskilled laborer and my blood boils every night I am on the job thinking of what I lost. I lost everything because I made an honest mistake and I was living a life of “addiction.”
    I am so pissed off at everything because NOBODY gives a crap about me and the people who have the ability to give me chance will not. If it wasn’t for the company I work for now I don’t know what I’d do.
    As you know we are all “LOW HANGING FRUIT” to the GOVT and because we are they always get a conviction because they have the money and we don’t. That’s why I took the 10 months instead of the 3-5 years I was facing.
    I have tried all the temp services, headhunters and voc rehab but that doesn’t even work. I am going to trudge along and hope that one day I will be back on top and able to be happy, but right now I don’t see anything positive.

  • You know at the end of the day it’s amazing that asays country we can hold people accoutable and allow past decisions to affect their future but when we remember the very crimes of this nation upon the citizens within it, we sy let’s move forward and not dwell on the past! The hypocrisy of people ! I’m not referring to people who are habitual violators but rather the ones who have made a wrong decision and have decided to turn their life around…..how can we demand productivity and contribution to society when we make policies that restrict the very demand we put in people with this type back ground? Shame in us!!!

    • In this country is what I meant

    • Marrieo says:

      Its been 17 years since my felony conviction in which 10 I served as punishment for my crime. I was 18 years old at the time of my offense. I am 35 now and can’t seem to find employment because of my crime and though I paid my debt to society I am still being punished as if my survival is not important and that I don’t deserve a chance to change my life. Makes me want to just give up a start my life of crime again since im going to be discriminated against for the rest of my life anyway. It must be what the Government wants…SO BE IT

  • David S says:

    The good I did while serving my country is for not now. I have four tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait; I AM A COMBAT VETERAN!! Even that does not matter anymore because of the mistake I made that has placed me in this new life I live of regret and what ifs. I did everything right until I made an honest mistake like I stated earlier in my post(s). If I knew what I know now, would I choose that life I used to live before that got me in trouble with this government? probably not because I was too far gone in my addiction to really realize what I was doing would land me in this mess I am experiencing now. I remember ten years ago looking in the mirror and asking out loud, ” Maybe I need to go to prison to beat this addiction I am living.” I never thought that a decade later my question I asked would come true. I can’t help but not think about what I used to have.
    When I was in prison I saw a lot in my short time and I talked to the guys who were in there for decades before I ever stepped foot inside. Each and everyone of them told me that I don’t belong in prison because I am not a “criminal” and they told me to never forget about my 318 days inside and to never come back. I took everything to heart of what they told me and what I saw; it was an experience of a lifetime!!!
    Now I am trying to deal with the public who looks at me and says that I deserved everything I got because people who commit crime should be locked away and never given a second chance. I am now dealing with these people who are HR people and they make the decisions to hire or fire people.

  • Larry says:

    I am not a felon but I have a 40 year old son who made mistakes as a younger man and I have seen the battles he has faced. We are a strong and well educated family and have many advantages that others do not have. He was a non-violent offender and never went to prison. His degree is in Criminal Justice which is ironic and he will never be able to further a career in his chosen field. I see his daily struggles of applying for jobs only to be rejected because he is a “felon”. Society has told him that “he is a failure” and he fights that battle every day to have “hope” that life is not over for him at 40 years of age. His family is his “support” structure so he has a roof over his head, food to eat and transportation.
    He doesn’t blame anyone but himself for his past decisions.
    Even with all his advantages, I see how extremely difficult it is financially, emotionally, and spiritually for him. I can only imagine the difficulty for those less fortunate. Something needs to be done. What has been helpful for those of you fighting this battle?

    • Ben Johnson says:

      Larry,
      Get involved in being an advocate. I don’t know where you live but there are reform & re-entry groups all over that need people to stand up & be heard. There is no support for people who are educated with white collar skills but also have a conviction on their background especially if it’s recent. All the programs are geared for resume & job skills training which someone like your son doesn’t need. I have done extensive research on (un)fair hiring & would be glad to share info. My brother is 35, has an IT degree & 10 years award winning experience. No one will hire him as even a banquet server at a corporate event company owned by a guy at his church who knows him. His crime was non violent & he served 6 months in a detention center. There is movement on hiring reform but more people affected need to get involved.

      • Larry says:

        Ben, I have been doing research and would love to discuss this issue and the knowledge you have gained. I’m in Mississippi.

      • ronald lee gasaway says:

        How can I help? My crimes were 30 years ago. I can’t find a job that’s legal or that pays the bills. I have years of cdl experience and only the shy sterling companies will hire me and force me to drive illegally. The one stranded me in Arizona because I tried to stay legal. The legitimate companies won’t hire me even though I have a better record and more experience than their current drivers. Illinois.

        • administrator says:

          I know it’s hard. May I ask a question however, have you tried working for small businesses that need a driver? My experience in many areas is that companies that employee 20 to 50 employees are far more likely to hire those of us with felony convictions than companies that are governed by HR restrictions imposed on larger organizations.

        • Christine Moffat says:

          I’m sorry that people are always judging people for their past. I know that your past doesn’t determine your future and don’t let it. We all have a past and some of us would love to be able to erase it but we can’t. When my husband and I hired a convicted felon he was the one who brought it up my husband said did I ask you if you’re a convicted felon and he said no. My husband and I are the winners because we have an amazing employee who is now part of our family. Please know that there are people who are willing to give anyone a chance

    • Christine Moffat says:

      I’m sorry that you’re son is still paying for a mistake from his past. I’m a business owner and I have a employee that is a convicted felon. My husband and I didn’t even ask him if he was. We have no right to judge anyone because we all have a past. Our businesses are motorcycle shop star certified smog shop and an automotive shop. All of our employees have keys for them and they are also part of our family. People need to stop judging people because they have no right. If I could change the application process I would never let the question of conviction be allowed. The one thing that I’ve learned is that the small businesses that are family run are the best place to start. My brother hired my nephew and he is a convicted felon. Good luck

  • Tired2ndclasscitizen says:

    America is the devil and the fear mongers sheep are the demons. We gotta separate and end this system.

  • Stacy H says:

    I was offered a job with a pretty big company here in CA. When the Operations Manager contacted me via email I emailed her back and explained my felony from Sept 2010. She thanked me for my honesty and said she still wanted to talk to me. I passed the phone interview, passed the 5 panel face to face interview and was extended a job offer. I had to explain my felony again in the hiring system they have, was sent for drug screen which I passed. I received my background report and of course my charge was on there. I have not heard back from company and have made attempts to get a answer. I have yet to hear back. They have not resinded the job offer or questioned the felony which i knew they wouldn’t because it was already explained twice. I am very discouraged….I understand getting hired with a huge company with a felony is difficult (I actually found the co on a job for felons web site that they hire felons). I am just trying to loosen my husbands load financially and I just need a break…just very frustrating. If they want or need to resind the offer why not just do it instead of leaving me hanging sort of speak….I feel Im still hopeful but everyday that passes I get less hopeful..

    • Bruce says:

      Stacy – I wish you the best. I’ve been trying to get ANY kind of decent job for over five years now, but I was even turned down by Walmart. I have a part-time job at an office supply store that pays under $10 hour, and I’ve been holding onto it for the past four years, as it’s the only place I can work. Big companies, local places, even a place locally that deals with felons (“Towards Employment”) would not return my calls AFTER an interview. I feel for you, I really do. I’m not sure what your needs are, but IMHO you should take anything that is offered until something better comes up.
      BJL Cleveland O

      • Christine Moffat says:

        My heart goes out to you no one should be able to even ask about what happened in someone’s past because we all have one. My husband is always saying that he could have been a convicted felon he just didn’t get caught. We didn’t hire a felon for the benefits because we didn’t know that they give you them we did it because he is attending school for his smog license and ASE certification and that is what we need. My advice to you is try the smaller business. And never give up on yourself

      • Stacy H says:

        Thank you Bruce. I have looked small companies and big companies..Big companies and small have contacted me but my felony is a deal braker. Why hire someone with a felony and lots of experience when you can hire a non felon with same experience…I understand it’s business and it is what it is….I will take anything even $10 a hour its enough to put food on the table..

    • Christine Moffat says:

      I want you to remember that your past doesn’t determine your future. I’m a business owner and I employ a convicted felon and I couldn’t be happier with him. He was looking for a job for more than a year and couldn’t find one. Well it’s their loss. My businesses are motorcycle shop star certified smog shop and an automotive shop my husband and I don’t ask about convictions because we all have a past and we have no right to judge anyone. My businesses are family run my daughter and son both work for us and we have other people that have a past. All of our employees are our family and we spend our free time with them. Don’t let anyone make you feel that your any different than anyone else

      • Stacy H says:

        Thank you for the kind words. I know I will find a job eventually and I know that is where I am suppose to be..until then I keep applying….Everyone has a past but your past shouldn’t define you but unfortunately it does at times. God Bless you and your husband for running your business with a open heart and open mind.

      • Ben Johnson says:

        I wish my brother could find someone like you that is willing to look at the whole person. He got 16 job offers taken back because they wouldn’t hire anyone with any type of criminal history. He said he might as well have gotten a life sentence because he’s a prisoner with invisible bars now. There are over 65 million people in the US with some sort of conviction in their history. I wish they could all have someone to stand up & speak out. It’s legal discrimination.

  • David says:

    I have posted here quite long ago, so here’s my update.
    I finally found a good job with benefits like health and dental and a 401k. Before that I worked for a newspaper printing company only making minimum wage. I did that for seven months. I got hooked up with Vocational Rehabilitation and the local job service. It wasn’t just me finding my current job, it was the women at SC Works; they gave me a reference. Finding a job with a felony isn’t easy but I did it. I spent four hours a day five days a week looking; if I wasn’t at the newspaper place I was at SC Works. I had many doors slammed in my face and people hanging up on me when I’d tell them about the felony.
    During the interview my current boss said that he believes in second chances and if someone pays their debt he’ll hire them. Two hours later I was given a chance to finally work.
    Please don’t give up because there are people who will help you.

  • Michael T. says:

    As a recent Felon who was just laid-off from working a full time job for over 8 years. M finding it harder than ever to find employment because of my crimes I committed years so as a child. I’ve worked as a Service Manager and Director of Operations, went to college and have 8 more classes until I graduate and still no one will even Lok my way once I say. Have a felony. I actually have 2. Just the other day I was hired in the interview and once I turned in the application with my felony charges, I never heard back from the company or gentleman that hired me. I’m finding it difficult to know when the right time to to them is. Before the interview? After the interview? Not at all in the interview and on my application? I have strong with history and I’m almost a college grad AFTER any convictions and still feel like I’m doomed. If the the admin sees this, I would love the opportunity to speak with him. It seems like the only ones who will talk to me are felons themselves.

    • Ben Johnson says:

      My brother had a very similar experience when he applied for professional jobs after his conviction. He had 16 job offers rescinded after his background came up but his conviction was recent. If yours was over 7 years ago, many employers only go back that far in a background check so it might not show up.

      Does it still have the question on the applications you’re filling out? Many states have Ban the Box & while it doesn’t stop them from asking, it does delay it. If your background check doesn’t show it & they don’t ask, many employers take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy.

      Have you tried doing a background check on yourself to see what comes up? That might let you know what potential employers see & you can then decide how to deal with that info. Having worked such a long time since your conviction should be a positive. I don’t know where you are but there are some advocacy groups that might be able to help you as well. They know the difficulty that people with convictions have when trying to regain a life.

      Don’t give up. There are people out there willing to give 2nd chances. Finding them is where the work starts.Congratulations in all you’ve accomplished so far. You should share your story with advocacy groups in your area. They need people like you that have gotten out, made every effort to prove themselves & still hit roadblocks.

  • peter says:

    most states have youthful offender laws which seal first offense criminal convictions of those under 21 years old and other adjudications that expunge the conviction after a certain probationary period, still others have what is known as relief of disabilities which in certain instances will permit the person convicted to vote, own a gun, run for office and even be a police officer. so this idea that somehow people are being victimized or discriminated against due to their criminal past is laughable. most people with convictions are repeat offenders who have already received youthful offender status or other adjudications that would seal their records, but continued to commit more crimes. Right know, you cannot get a job driving if you have any accidents or tickets on your record, but evidently murder, robbery, grand theft auto etc, is cool. It is all the lobbyist. The left wing politicians that want to force businesses to hire felons do not want to force businesses to hire those with a ticket or accident on their driving records because the insurance company lobbyist do not want it.

    • Ben says:

      Be more diligent with your research and statements. You cite what amounts to rare exceptions as if they were the norm, which they definitely are not. I was arrested ONCE with a felony charge (minor offense) and after 5 years no one will hire me. I’m not alone in this, which is why this blog exists and why it has merit. If you don’t believe me, get yourself charged with a felony and then post again to let us all know how your “relief of disabilities” is working for you.

      • administrator says:

        I realize this response was related to a post within the blog, but as a convicted felon I can state categorically that felons can be hired. I hear the frustration with “after 5 years no one will hire me” and know that it can be hard, but I’d say (with multiple examples to support the statement) you’re looking in the wrong places. You are not a victim of being a convicted felon, you can choose to be a victor, but as long as you believe you are not hireable, you improve the chances you won’t be.

        • Ben says:

          Thank you. As a matter of fact, I did find a job. It pays less than $10 hour, but I took it and have kept it for over 4 1/2 years. I’m trying to find a second job to supplement that, and that is where I’m running into problems. I can’t get an inside promotion with the company because of my record, and cannot find anything else. I’m 67 now and not the gladiator I used to be, so that’s another strike.My response to the poster was mainly about Peter’s lack of understanding about his subject matter. He says that our situations are “laughable” because of the many ways we can wiggle out of the trap! Simply not true!! In the broadest sense, most felons have an extremely difficult time finding any kind of work, let alone meaningful positions that pay the bills. I was making over 70k yearly. For the past 4.5 years I’m still under $10 hour. My crime took place over 20 years ago (my only conviction EVER), although the conviction was just over 5 years ago. Who is the same person they were over 20 years ago, and whatever happened to America being the land of second chances? That’s my deal.. Peter is not in touch with the real situation for us. Some of us are truly repentant and not repeat offenders, yet it’s rather like being Jean Valjean. He remained the criminal he was in the eyes of the world, even though he had become productive and well like by all. That’s life, as they say in France

  • william says:

    Being a Felon is hard ….. but through hard work and persistence you can make it. It will take time though. I am a convicted felon in Georgia …had multiple felonies in 1986 (Including arson) had a theft by receiving in 1998 and then got a felony in 2003 for using someone’s picture on the net without permission ….. however since them – I am a notary public , hold a SIDA badge and a twic card as well as have Hazmat on my CDL (all of these require FBI Background checks as well as a terriost threat assessment ) Plus I am an Officer in the Georgia Guard. Keep clean and straight and you can make it – I received a full pardon in 2012

    • administrator says:

      William great post. Would love to interview you for my show – “Second Chances” – you up for that? I can be reached at chuck @ gallagher.pcgdev.com

      • william says:

        Good afternoon …. I would be honored. I’ve always wanted to do more for felons – or at least try to encourage them. It’s not easy for those who have made bad decisions and mistakes – granted, there are a lot of career criminals that are a lost cause – but there are just as many felons who don’t want to go down that road any more but seem trapped in a society that doesn’t want or understand them. Believe me, I fully understand what it feels like to be sub-human and it’s very easy to give up and say why bother. I have a longer record than most – but I buckled down and sucked it up and did what was necessary to improve myself. Its never easy but it can be done ….. If my experience can help others who truly want to change, to truly be a part of society and not prey upon it – then I will gladly do all I can

    • Ben Johnson says:

      William, I wish you would share your story with the Georgia based National Incarceration Association (joinnia.com). My brother is in Georgia with a felony & has not been able to work doing IT work since his conviction. It would sure be a help to know someone has had success in getting something other than a manual labor job.

  • Charles123 says:

    I too am a convicted felon. Discharged back in 2015 after 20 years. (West Virginia) and I’ve been straight up on my job applications. And even made it as far as interviews. I’ve even been hired, given schedule , what day and time to start. Couple places even filled out tax forms. Then called about an hour before I’m even supposed to start they cannot hire me because results of background check. (Again they knew since application) I’ve heard this talk about “ban the box.” OK I didn’t have to answer the question on the application. Made it to intetview. Still had to do background check. And of course was notified they couldn’t hire me because of background. So now I must ask, how is ban the box any help, if they’re still going to run background check? And the results of that is still going to determine if you get the job or not, and be more of a determine issue than anything else. All that ban the box does if get you another step into hiring process before getting denied. That being the case I’d rather not even be called for interview due to ban the box. I’d rather they just keep that question on the application.

    • administrator says:

      I agree with leaving the question. The better question however for most of us is who are we applying to. Example: I just spoke at a University in PA. They would never hire me as a convicted felon, but the are fine with paying me to speak to their students. Sometimes we have to look to small businesses that don’t have big HR departments and where the Boss ultimately makes the hiring decisions. I am a VP in a public company, but rest assured if I didn’t know the president of the company I would not be hired. The challenge isn’t that we are convicted, rather its how we deal with that that ultimately moves us forward in jobs and careers. By the way, many folks who are like us create our own businesses and are far more successful that if we worked for others.

    • Ben Johnson says:

      Amen Charles123! The same thing happened to my brother 16 times! Until we ban the bias, banning the box just delays the rejection from the application to the onboarding. Sadly, it is legal in most states to discriminate in hiring someone with a conviction background UNLESS they are a protected EEO class.
      HR departments & companies need to do individual assessments to see if the conviction is a job related type crime. A bank may not want to hire a former armed robber or someone who embezeled to be a teller but as a call center rep for the bank that doesn’t have access to money, why not? Now, they just outright reject applicants unless the background check comes back clean.(usually they go back 7 years).
      My brother was rejected from small & large companies. Almost every business does background checks because they’re cheap to do. Have you seen the Home Advisor commercials? They stress background checks are done on the contractors they suggest.
      We need to stand up & say this is wrong. With over 65 MILLION people having some sort of conviction in their background, to exclude that huge number of people from having decent employment should be criminal.

  • David S says:

    Update!!!!!
    I posted on this blog before and I want to give you an update.
    I was released from prison on 24 June 2016. In August of 2016 I took a job at a newspaper printing company that paid me $7.25 an hour and shortly after that i received a .75 raise. As time went by I got a better paying job at a material recycling company starting at $12.50 an hour. As time went on i was promoted twice and received raises. I thought everything was good until I was fired on my day off and over the phone. About three day’s before being fired the president of the company gave me a dollar raise and I was told that I’m a great employee. I never missed a day, I never was late, I was never written up and I did everything that was asked of me without even thinking twice. On a Monday I go to meet my PO which I’ve done many of times and I even let my supervisor know which he gave me his blessings and I was off the clock. The next day I was at home and my supervisor calls. He and I talk. He starts to question me about the meeting and I inform him that I was off the clock which he confirms. Thirty minutes later the president of the company calls me and doesn’t give a reason why he was terminating me. I ask over and over again why and he just keeps repeating that it’s not working out.
    Yes you can find a job with a felony but keeping that job is impossible. I should know because I did everything right and it got me fired.

  • administrator says:

    I’m sorry to hear that. But with that experience what did you learn? Did you learn that you got fired and it’s impossible? Or did you learn that you can advance in a job and be rewarded even though you are a convicted felon? The one thing that is true is it’s not the situation that happens in life, it’s how you react to the situation. Again, I’m sorry you got fired, but perhaps there are better opportunities out there for you. I’m mean you went (if I’m reading this right) from one company to another successfully. Don’t let one setback impact your thinking. You can succeed as a convicted felon. You can be a victim or a victor – the choice is yours.

    • Keith Thomas says:

      False & untrue. The OG did everything right. Sounds like he was a model employee. And yet, someone took exception to his past.
      People/companies/society will ALWAYS take exception to someone’s past of they can. If they have a felony, all the more reason to fire them if a company is looking to downsize.
      Sorry Administrator, but your reply is an insult.

    • David S says:

      Inow have a motto, “Don’t let them win!!” What did I learn? I have learned that if you have a felony on your record, no matter how old it is, it’s always going to be like this; once the company takes advantage of the WOTC they will boot you. I am not upset because I am back in school where I am taking a certification for the manufacturing industry. I had my UI Appeal today and the former employer didn’t participate which means most likely my unemployment will get approved.
      You stated this, “You can succeed as a convicted felon. You can be a victim or a victor – the choice is yours.” Yes, I do have a choice of being a victim or the victor but you sir blog for a living, you probably don’t live in a small town, your last name is probably popular where I am the only person in my state with my last name and if you Google my last name you’ll see my crime and that I’m a convicted felon, and I can’t work in my degree field due to the crime I plead guilty to.
      Oh I’m sure you experienced what I have when you first had that taste of freedom, but it’s the now that I am living in and where I am at people that work in HR do not believe in second chances. So yes I can find work, but no I can’t stay employed because of the harsh reality of crime and punishment for life.

      • administrator says:

        Actually over the course of almost 30 years I went from selling cemetery property door to door to becoming a VP in a public company. I don’t blog for a living, I work in a public company and speak. I am passionate about helping convicted felons find their second chance. Not all companies are unfriendly to convicted felons. Example the company I’m a VP in has multiple convicted felons in various positions. When it’s all said and done, I don’t disagree that it’s hard! However, hard is not a sentence that precludes success. You can be a victim, but that all starts with an attitude of it can be done, not one of how hard it is.

      • Tom says:

        Hey David, unfortunately I can probably guess what your crime is due to my own circumstances. Just recently I had a job offer from a smallish tech company in industrial manufacturing rescinded due to my record. It was an amazing opportunity and would have afforded me a fantastic chance to get back on my feet and help my family out. Like you I was a top candidate, they even said someone like me only comes along once in 100 interviews and I was offered a job same day directly from the CEO of the company. Everyone in my interview loved me and thought I would be a great addition to the team. I was forthcoming and had told them about it in my application.
        Turns out the CEO had told the HR Manager not to inform him of the name of the person who had applied with a criminal record so that he could judge me on my merits. So despite judging me on my “merits” and determining I would be a fantastic fit and an asset to the company the job offer was rescinded 2 days later after the HR Manager informed the CEO it was me that had applied with the record. His reasoning was that the clients could be against me working at their locations and that they would be liable for anything that happened while I was there. Despite giving him the assurance from several sources in the justice system that I was not a danger to anyone in the form of referral letters he still refused. I never even got a chance to meet with the clients face to face and plead my case to them directly. The whole job offer was rescinded on perceived liability and conjecture of what people MIGHT think. That’s typically how my job search goes. Greatest candidate to walk through the doors since sliced bread one minute, job offer rescinded after verifying background check. I never lie and I always let them know on the job application. All they seem to see is my charge, which was only a felony due to a technicality in the way the law is written in my state. Otherwise it would have been a misdemeanor. All they see is that felony charge which when read by someone not familiar with legal terminology sounds horrible. Makes me out to be a monster when the crime I plead guilty to was a stretch of the wording of law at best. But that’s what I guess for pleading guilty out of fear.

        • administrator says:

          May I respectfully ask a question: When you interviewed with the CEO did you tell him in the first five minutes that you had a felony conviction?

          • Tom says:

            He specifically told his HR Manager to not inform him of who it was with the felony record so he could judge him on his own merits. So he knew that one of the top candidates he was interviewing had the record. It was his own decision to be left in the dark as to who it was. After he said he couldn’t hire me two days later he specifically said if he had an office position where I wouldn’t have to meet clients he would still hire me but at this time he has none.

          • administrator says:

            Tom thanks for your response. Over a number of years I have learned that I have to take my hiring into my own hands. Hence, while the CEO didn’t want to know, he/she effectively put the issue into the hands of someone other than you. PLEASE NOTE: I’m not in any way saying you did anything wrong – I would suggest that most of the felons I have interviewed have all said, that if they are the ones to raise it with the hiring decider (in this case the CEO) they at least get to plead their case. Don’t know if this helps you, but perhaps it will help those who follow this thread.

        • David S says:

          Hey Tom,
          Yes Sir, you are right!! We are the boogy men in today’s society…at least in everyone elses eyes.
          I even had a company tell me that they prayed for someone like me because god told them so and I was offered the job, but once the BG came back it was over; the job was pulled from me; I should have killed someone and then I could be working in IT.
          The good news is this. I received an email from my senator and I was able to tell him about people like us and hopefully something will change. I have to be realistic by knowing that he wants to get re-elected and taking our side will be a death nail for him.
          I never thought that I would be where I am at today!! 19 years serving this country, a degree and a skill not a lot of people have has gotten me to this point.
          I could give you my email if you want and maybe we can come up with some ideas.

          • Tom says:

            Sure, if you are comfortable putting it out there, we can toss some ideas around.

          • Ben Johnson says:

            David & Tom, my brother had the same experience as you have had. Chuck’s experience may be the exception because my brother has talked with re-entry people that work for the state & they can’t tell him of a single success story where a white collar job has hired one of their formerly incarcerated or felony conviction people. Not a single success story & this is the governor’s office of re-entry telling him this. He has been told by recruiters & hiring people that they would consider him if the conviction was older than 7 years. That’s because most background checks only go back 7 years & they can pretend they don’t know about your past.
            Chuck, no one here is playing the victim. They are just frustrated that companies are so afraid of their image or a bias & won’t give someone a chance. All people want is the chance to prove themselves & pay their bills.But society refuses to forgive. Even the term “offender” says it all. Society is offended that someone has done something wrong. The need to punish continues long after the court ordered punishment has ended.

            That’s why my brother & I are now advocates for Fair Hiring. If those affected don’t speak up, nothing will change. It’s legal discrimination. They don’t want any favors- just the same chance to work hard like anyone else.

          • Tom says:

            Hey Ben, yes, I agree with you 100%. If society was a person, most people would probably agree that he/she isn’t a very good person. We all just want a chance to move forward from our mistakes and do right by those who still believe in us. Unfortunately, it is society that doesn’t want us to move on from our mistakes. I’m no victim by a long shot. I know I can overcome this, even if it takes me the rest of my life. I’m not stupid however, I do know the actual reality of the situation I am in. I’m giving Chuck the benefit of the doubt here and say that he is simply saying it is possible since him and many others have done it. The issue is that him and the others who have are exceptions to the rule. I want to change that. I am a few years out from being able to do anything on a large scale, but one day I do want to have a company where I will give people in our situation second chances. I want to start a non profit to provide help and support nationally and not just leave it to a small minority in individual states or wait for society to change.

            The unfortunate truth is this. The rich and powerful control change, they influence the media which in turns influences the public to let them get away with the laws and legislation that screws people like us from having a fair chance. The media has made us out to be the bad guys, no matter what we do to try and change that image. The only way I can think of to effectively institute change is to become rich and powerful ourselves. It’s unfortunate but it’s the way our world works. To that end I have some projects in the works to one day be able to start a company but I am a long ways off from having enough to show to prospective investors, etc. I’ll get there one day. Mark my words.

  • administrator says:

    So you’re just a victim right? Sorry you think being empowered is an insult. It is true people can and will take exception to one’s past. I am a felon. I have been employed in a public company that downsized. I was not let go. I am not saying my experience applies to everyone, but I am an example that good things can happen. Sorry if you don’t like that example Keith. All of us convicted felons will, for our lives, face issues that are a result of our choices. I face them today. However, I know that there is hope which is what this blog is about. Sounds to me you’d prefer to promote hopelessness. I prefer hope and am living proof it can happen. I you wish to talk call me. 8282.44.1400.

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  • Tom says:

    Just an update. Still no job. Have had several job offers rescinded for well paying good jobs in warehousing and factory positions. I’ve tried explaining my situation at the beginning, the middle and the end of the interview. Before the interview, after the job offer, everything. But it seems that no one is willing to make an exception to any rules or if there are no rules, give me a chance to prove myself. This is very frustrating, I’ve been unemployed for over a year now and not being able to provide for myself is taking it’s toll on my psyche. I can’t do construction since I have a shoulder injury that prevents me from doing prolonged physical labor. Being educated and white collar seems to be a detriment rather than a benefit when it comes to finding a job with a felony on record. I have even been hit with “overqualified” several times when trying to get low level jobs.

  • Keith Thomas says:

    Wow. You really added to this discussion. Your genius is sounding

  • Keith Thomas says:

    I love that new hiring policies are in place and love that the EEOC is actually doing something. It’s a great & healthy start. But sadly, it won’t be enough until employees’ feet are held to the flames and called out when caught discriminating. Fines NEED to be levied and imposed. And again, employers can always justify this by claiming said applicant didn’t meet their “narrow hiring perimeters.”
    Most people I know don’t have the pockets or resources to file lawsuit & follow it through to ensure the employer is held accountable.
    So, yes, this is a great start but for me, it’s just another empty promise.

  • Tom says:

    Everything you said has already been said also.

    Ad hominem insult? Check

    Comment on how this is great but not great? Check

    It looks like both of us added nothing to this discussion.

  • Keith Thomas says:

    Well, then I guess the people have spoken. Done deal.

  • David S. says:

    Update!!!!!
    On June 4 of this year I started a new job and it’s not in the IT field.
    I knew I had to rebrand myself, so I went back to school for a manufacturing certification called, “MSSC..” There are ten different certs that I got while attending the class and passing the exams; one of the certs is an OSHA Cert. At the end of the class a bunch of companies interview and if they like you, they hire you and which one of them did. I am now a CNC Machine and Metal Fabricator with a fortune 500 company. At first I was very skeptical but as the class moved along I started to see that i had a chance. I was honest and told the interviewer about the felony and he told me that he believes that when a person does their time that they deserve a second chance; i thought to myself that I heard that before!! After a few days iwas hired!!
    Now, this is the reason why I am where I’m at. I was sent to school under a federal government grant for two certs, one for manufacturing and the other CNC Machine Operator. Whether you like him or not, President Trump made it possible for me through funding for ex-offenders.
    If anyone needs help or has questions let me know because I believe tharwe the people who has a felony or two, needs to help others who are walking in our shoes that are going through the same struggles.
    The company I am working at pays well with full benefits.

  • Ben Johnson says:

    Tom, I’m sorry you haven’t had any luck. Neither has my brother. He’s up to 5 rescinded jobs since February. He is also an educated white collar employee. It seems like people are even less willing to hire white collar people with any type of criminal history. They aren’t supposed to mess up & get in trouble. He has been told that some recruiters will work with professional job seekers if the conviction wasn’t real recent & it was a non violent or job impacting crime. So far he hasn’t found an employer or recruiter to work with him.
    The only way for change is to speak out. Show the world that the face of incarceration or “felons” has changed & it’s not just “thugs” with no education that are being shunned because of the label. The statistics are staggering for the number of people with some sort of conviction in their past. Go to the National Incarceration Association website (joinnia.com) & see the numbers. If just 1 person spoke out for each of the over 65 million people with a conviction on their record, no one could ignore them. Time to make some noise. Post your experiences on any news report or blog dealing with the reentry issue. Let the world see that there is legal discrimination going on everyday.

  • Lauren says:

    Those who committed certain violent felonies should not be in the general workplace—( also raises a valid obstacle that if a company hires a felon who has committed a violent act, do other employees have the right to know that? What if joe brown has been in prison twice for felony domestic violence and later is hired at x company and begins dating a coworker there who has no idea he is a violent person- and, ( true to statistics) he ends up assaulting her down be road—
    any felon in the category of — felony assault, rape, kidnapping, felony domestic violence, attempted murder ( and goes without saying anyone who abducted or murdered)

  • Chuck Gallagher says:

    Black and white – that simple? The devil is in the details and your approach is clearly exclusive. I know a lady who was convicted of attempted murder related to her abusive husband. She mistakenly said in the ear shot of a cop that she’d pay anything to get her husband killed since he was killing her with abuse. That set up a chain reaction that earned her a felon conviction. Sometimes things we say in anger or without thinking have serious consequences. Black and White is easy, but not always the right thing to do.

  • Tom says:

    Ridiculous, it’s not the company’s job to inform an employee that the person they are dating has a criminal record. It is the person’s responsibility to know who they are dating. If they shouldn’t be working then what should they be doing? Committing more crimes out of desperation to survive? Such a short sighted statement on your part.

  • Tom says:

    Good to hear David. I too am looking for work in an industrial/manufacturing setting. Does the company have locations in MD?

  • Lauren says:

    Not short sighted, it’s called concern for safety of innocent law abiding citizens- if I am working in a office I would have an assumption they are not hiring a man who recently got out of prison for kidnapping and rape, or who committed serious felony assault to a girlfriend or spouse,..your sympathy is with those who violently assault, rape, kidnap etc. I believe those with a non violent felony are one thing- but a person who’s demonstrated they’re capable of seriously harming or killing should **not** be working in a general workplace with the public and coworkers

    • Chuck Gallagher says:

      I hear your concern. However, it still goes back to black and white. There is a fear that is pervasive in your comments. I respect that, but question where does that fear comes from. If a 16 year old has sex with a girl who is drunk and passes out. That act in most states would be considered rape. So let’s assume that the kid (16 year old) is charged and serves time in prison. Then is released and attempts to get a job on the loading dock for the company that you work for. Is he a threat to you? Is he really a threat to anyone? Is is possible that he learned his lesson even though he’ll be labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life? You see (or maybe not) that this is far different than someone who with malice rapes someone or many. The circumstances we find ourselves in are not always black and white. So what is the reason for making a judgment that all people should be treated the same without regard to the circumstances of their crime? Curious your thoughts.

  • Tom says:

    You dodged the question. What should they be doing then if not working? That is what makes you short sighted. You offer no alternate solution to a problem and fail to see the possible repercussions of your line of thought. I’m not paying to keep them locked up for life or on welfare for life and it’s not my place to decide if someone is deserving of death. So tell me, Lauren, what should they be doing then if you don’t want them working? Do you want to adopt a violent offender and pay for his housing and meals for the rest of his life just so he doesn’t work in public or with coworkers? Get off that high horse and realize that even those people need to work and pull their own weight.

  • Lauren says:

    I guess Tom we have different priorities and perspectives on this, you seem very invested in defending a fraction of persons who have demonstrated they are capable and have committed serious we are talking rape, kidnapping, felony domestic etc,
    If it’s being on a high horse to recognize violent offenders as a danger well then that’s on you, having a rosy sugar coated idea they are all misunderstood and need a pat on the back only further enables them and does a disservice by giving uninformed people the idea that they’re all really ok and just misunderstood when in fact majority who do violent type crimes are sociopathic and not capable or willing to even admit they are the problem- not the person who pissed them off, not their parents divorce or whatever the excuse.
    As far as after they’re released ( if they are) they will have to if they truly want to actually change, they will have to rise to the challenge of finding resources, halfway houses, appropriate programs to be accountable and fly straight, and might have to start by volunteering somewhere in a warehouse or doing menial tasks or cleaning where they are not mixed in with a general work pool- it’s just a natural result of doing a serious act of violence and it’s not the same as someone who wrote a bad check. If they really are sincere and invested in wanting to be accountable and responsible for their actions and life they will bite the bullet and just keep trudging through to have a chance to get a basic job such as packing boxes in a back warehouse or a night janitor in a office, etc. however because as history has shown majority of violent offenders choose to go on and commit future violent acts that land them back in the slammer. That’s on them to decide as adults what choices they want to make, and while it would feel good to pretend a rosy view that they all mean well and will stay violence free, statistics say it is much more common they do repeat similar violence again.

  • Tom says:

    Even a night janitor has coworkers. Warehouse work also has coworkers. You said they shouldn’t be allowed to work around other people yet 99.999% of jobs out there isn’t one of a guy working in the middle of no where by himself. This is just pure ignorance at it’s finest. I’m not defending anyone, I’m attacking an ignorant person. There is a big difference. Employment has been shown time and time again to be the number one thing to prevent reoffending as a felon. Period. People atone for their misdeeds by being of service to others, not by being forced into desperation to feed themselves and their families. If you got drunk one day and slapped a guy at a bar, you’d be charged with assault and could find yourself a violent offender with a criminal record. Let’s say you are a single mom with kids. How are you going to feed and cloth them if no one will give you a job because of a bunch of Laurens not wanting to take precautions to look out for themselves and forcing society to protect them while they refuse to lift a finger to protect themselves. What then? Would you still be sitting there whistling this tune? I hate to break it to you but the stereotype of the sociopathic violent offender is extremely rare. It gets played up by the media exactly because it’s rare. One study looked at a 20 year period where 988 offenders were released from Federal prison after serving time for murder. You want to know how many went on to commit another murder? 0, nada, zilch, none. The vast majority of domestic violence charges aren’t wife beaters. If you spit on someone you can be charged with assault and domestic violence. Chuck asked you about nuances yet you refuse to answer him. You cling to a distorted reality. Sex offenders for instance have one of the lowest reoffense rates of any category and even amongst them you have a whole swath of folk with that label. If you slept with a prostitute or you yourself accepted money for sex then guess what? You are guilty of human trafficking in most states. Real life isn’t like the TV shows you seem to be watching with good looking actors portraying the justice system as having impeccable morals. Like I said, I’m not defending anyone, I believe you reap what you sow but at the end of the day I can’t stand ignorance and you reek of it.

  • Lauren says:

    C’mon,… please don’t use ridiculous comparisons- slapping someone at a bar would not be something and I know you know this that rises to the level what we are discussing. Please keep up

  • Tom says:

    That comment says it all. You are the one living in an idealistic world where only hardened criminals get caught up in the legal system. Go into a bar and start slapping people, come back here and let us know how it goes. If you don’t think you can catch a violent assault charge for slapping someone then you are more delusional then I thought. Either that or you’re special and the laws don’t apply to you. You still refuse to answer Chuck’s question about the cases where someone may have been convicted of a violent crime but the actual circumstances aren’t anywhere near as bad as they sound. Like the teenager convicted of statutory rape for getting his girlfriend pregnant. Should he be prevented from working? You seem to think everyone is a serial rapist and I pity you for thinking the world is such a bad place. Like Chuck said, you’re approach is black and white and it misses all the colors in between.

  • Lauren says:

    Please don’t make assumptions out of the air about my beliefs, I do not know you. I never said “everyone is a serial rapist” or everything in the world is horrible, I clearly said those call convicted of a serious and violent felony have demonstrated they’re capable of serious harm to others in the public… a 16 yr old who has sex with his 15 yr old girlfriend is not going to serve hard prison time, neither will a person who slaps someone in a bar, but since you are redesigning the issue by pretending felony domestic, rape, kidnapping and assault etc is the same as a drunk person in a bar slapping someone , this is not a conversation that will go anywhere because your intentionally trying to compare apples to oranges – perhaps your need to defend those is because you have a close person who did commit such acts or maybe you did or who knows, perhaps you just really don’t get it. But when both people in a discussion are not willing to keep to the issue, and turn to drawing in obtuse or unrelated issues such as comparing a 16 yr old who has sex with a 15 yr old or a person who slaps someone in a bar to a person who kidnapped at gunpoint a victim and assaulted them, it no longer is an honest discussion or debate. It’s like comparing someone who takes a couple extra samples at a food demonstration table instead of one to an armed robber

  • David S. says:

    Tom,
    You’ll find work because if I can do it then anyone can; my charge/conviction are one of the wotst ones to have.
    I don’t think they have a plant in MD, but I will get back to you on that.
    Go to your local job service and ask them about the wioa program; Trump signed funding for it for ex-offenders.

  • Tom says:

    This is where your ignorance shines bright. You say a 16 year old getting a 15 yr old pregnant won’t do hard time in prison. You sure about that? He may not be in prison but a juvenile detention center is still incarceration. He would have to register as a tier 3 sex offender for life for a rape charge. I quote ” issue by pretending felony domestic, rape, kidnapping and assault etc is the same as a drunk person in a bar slapping someone…” According to you he should not be working. I know of someone first hand in that exact situation. People only see a rape charge and the Laurens out there go “He’s a convicted rapist, he shouldn’t be allowed to work with us.” There are also people who were 17, one year older then 16, that ended up getting charged as adults and spent “hard prison time”. A slap is still an assault charge. Alright, since you want to play hard, how about a punch then? Most states pursue a punch to the face as a felony assault. What if you were drunk and punched the guy in the nose instead of slapped him? Now, what? Should you be kept from working a job for the rest of your life? Looking for scrap work where no one else is around? You clearly speak from a point of view of someone who doesn’t know the law or the legal system. There are many people out there who are convicted of “violent” felonies that never committed anything we would deem violent. As in the case of the 16 year old, he would be a tier 3 sex offender alongside the predators. Would you make a distinction for him if his resume came across the table or you heard from a coworker he was on the registry as a tier 3? Or would you demand he be fired from the job? If you looked up his record it wouldn’t say “had consensual sex with his 15 year old girlfriend when he was 16” it would say something along the lines of “Rape – statutory” and his registry listing would say something like “Aggravated sex offense” or “Taking indecent liberties with a minor” or both. Reading those lines would you be open minded like you claim to be here? I doubt it. You would grab your pitch fork and light your torch and go on a witch hunt.

  • Tom says:

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • Lauren says:

    You sound like you’re unfamiliar with actual law…I am not an attorney but my older brother has done criminal defense for 18 years. And no I am not implying that makes me an attorney. However, there is no state where a 16 yr old would be prosecuted for having sex with a 15 yr old.
    Federal law states that a person between age 12-16 cannot give consent to someone 4 or more years older. State by state within that realm are some variations on it- such as in Texas a minor can give consent when having sex with a person in 3 yr age ahead of them- so, someone less than 3 yrs older than a 14 yr old would not be doing anything illegal. In California has a tiered system so the greater the age difference will determine level of charge if even pursued—-in California if someone engages in sex with a person who is less than 3 years in age difference would be a misdemeanor and very unlikely to be pursued legally.
    Yes some people can end up being prosecuted for having sex with a minor however the reality is that unless the age difference is marked, such as a 24 yr old having sex with a 13 yr old it is very unlikely to result in a district attorney pressing charges or picking up the case. Welcome to the real world of law- prosecutors when presented with a police report determine which cases to pick up- they are working on cases of murder, carjacking rape, armed robbery etc., and only have so much time and resources- ok you will say “ but it could happen”, ok, very unlikely for a district attorney to pick up the case/ file charges for minor crimes- a guy might be initially arrested for punching another guy at a bar in the face, – not gonna happen that the d.a. will pick up the case.

  • Tom says:

    You misread. Not could. Did. I know someone where it actually happened. He got his girlfriend pregnant when he was 16. Her parents pursued charges and he is now a registered tier 3 sex offender for life. You know what else is unlikely? Lightning strikes, shark attacks, and winning the lottery. Yet, they happen. Again, you refuse to answer Chuck’s question about the grey cases. It’s been what? 4 or 5 times now that you’ve been asked to poise your response yet you refuse to. The law isn’t so noble and clean as you make it out to be. Recently in my state two guys were released from serving 20 years in prison each for a murder they didn’t commit. New evidence proved that it couldn’t have been them. The point is unlikely just means it doesn’t happen often. I firmly believe that most people are generally good and make mistakes. They deserve a chance to move on with their lives and be productive members of society. Afterall, employment has been shown to be the number one thing to prevent repeat offenses. Yet, people like you want to keep them unemployed. There is no job where you don’t have coworkers. Period. There are no jobs where you don’t come in contact with other human beings. Period. So be saying they should get work that doesn’t come into contact with others is the same as condemning them to being unemployed for life. It’s a pipe dream you have.

  • Tom says:

    How about this person’s husband? It sounds like you’ve been the one doing his background checks and denying him work. Went to school, has a family and hasn’t been in trouble since. Yet, according to your thinking, he shouldn’t be allowed to work.

    “We are also going through the same thing. My husband has 3 convictions of domestic assault from when he was 19 years old from verbal fights with his crazy family. He is now 30 has an education which has caused us thousands in debt. We have applied to luxury rentals to have a better place to raise our children, and he has applied to all major companies (Thomas Reuters, Carlson Companies, UnitedHealthGroup, Tek systems just to name a few) when we lived in Minnesota, each time they loved him had him go to a 2 day training and as soon as the background check came back they walked him out the door as if he was going to attack them. He has changed his life and is not a rude little punk. 10 years later we decided we needed to move because we have exhausted all options in Minnesota. We moved to FL because we had family close and we are running into the same problem. We are forced to live in a horrible school district because we can’t get accepted to rent a nice house in a good school district even with my income, which isn’t bad. We are denied constantly and this has started to destroy our credit. Now we are forced to live on one income, have tons of school debt, and can’t have the income to support the debt we incurred thinking a degree would help in I.T. This country is a joke. We are good citizens, do our part, take pride in our work, raising kids, and trying to provide a better life for them and no one will give us a chance. How do they expect us to keep on the straight and narrow if they wont allow us to survive with rising costs? If they wont allow him to work then he should be able to apply for social security. We deserve to raise our family in a good community just like everyone else. It is bullsh*** that we are force to live like this. Now we can’t buy a house because of the school loans, can’t pay toward the schools because a company wont hire him and a $10.00/hr warehouse job doesn’t even cover daycare so what’s the point.”

  • Lauren says:

    Sorry Ibut I provided what the law is- there is no state where a 16 yr old is committing a crime by having sex with his 15 yr old girlfriend, is it possible your pulling stuff from the air to promote your agenda?

  • Lauren says:

    Please note- fantasy scenarios aside, people do not get taken to court and prosecuted by district attorneys for having a verbal argument- this account by some person on the internet stating her husband was prosecuted on three different occasions for arguing with a family member,…. please. Entertains stuff though

  • Ben Johnson says:

    Lauren, I understand your concern for safety but honestly, the ones you need to be worried about are the ones who haven’t been caught. Most of the people that have served time for their charge & are looking for honest work are not the ones looking to reoffend. All they want is a chance to show that they can work & support themselves & their families. IF they are lucky enough to find someone willing to take a chance on them, they are so grateful to get hired that they won’t risk losing that job & going back to incarceration.Not everyone with a conviction is a thug waiting to jump you in the bushes.
    I have become an advocate to help educate society about people trying to reestablish themselves after serving their sentence. I also have a brother that is desperate to be given a 2nd chance. His charge was not a physical charge & he was sentenced to serve 6 months at a low risk bootcamp & then probation. He has a college degree with 10 years experience in his field. He has never been disrespectful to anyone & if YOU met him, you’d be impressed at the person he is…until You saw his background. That has happened to him 20 times with employers ( 5 times in the last 90 days). He wowed them & was offered the job & then had it rescinded strictly because he had a conviction in his past.
    It doesn’t matter that he has certificates of rehabilitation, done community service, volunteers at 5 different non-profits & has offered to work a month for free to prove himself. He can’t even get a job picking up garbage because they do a background check. Everyone has your attitude that once a “criminal, always a criminal”. If that is society’s view then everyone convicted of a crime should get a life sentence. How are people supposed to live if no one will hire them? And transition programs?? That’s a joke. There is no money for these things in the states’ budget. The Dept of Corrections reentry education shows you how to do a resume & fill out a job application. They don’t tell you how to deal with employers that won’t hire you or co-workers that threaten to quit when they find out you’ve been hired.
    I urge you to address your fears by educating yourself about the people you are talking about. Go to the National Incarceration Association website (joinnia.com) & look at the statistics & stories of the people you are lumping into 1 basket. With over 65 million people in the US having some sort of conviction in their background, they can’t all be digging ditches, mopping floors or any of the other “acceptable” jobs you mentioned. I am more worried about closeminded people like you than I am of the people trying to get a job.

  • Lauren says:

    Ben, I thought ( but maybe I’m mistaken) I expressed I am referring to violent felons- so no, I would not have the same belief about your brother who committed a non physical offense not violence, served 6 months, so I actually do hope he gets a job soon. Again I’m referring to those who demonstrated their capable of serious violence towards another person.

  • Ben Johnson says:

    Ok, I just sensed some real bias that seemed to imply that people can’t change. I do agree that it’s ok to be cautious but then again, I wouldn’t just cozy up to anyone if I didn’t get to know them. The risk of being victimized is greater from someone you don’t suspect than by the identified “threat”. Just look at all the recent shootings. Most people are shocked that the person did this & there was very little, if any, criminal history. That’s really scary.

    Believe me, it is a tremendous risk for someone with a criminal history to open up to people they don’t know that well. They face rejection, persecution & even physical violence simply because at some time in their life they broke the law. Regardless of the crime or the fact that they have served a court ordered sentence, there are no second chances.

    Imagine how it must feel to apply for a job knowing that you could easily be the right person for the job & having all the positive things about you ignored. It takes a lot of courage to apply for a job knowing that you will have to outperform all the other candidates & then explain what will show up on a background check. My brother actually had someone walk out on his interview when he started telling them about his past.This is legal discrimination.
    I had someone tell me that they hoped my brother burned in Hell & I had never met the lady. She was just a busybody in the neighborhood that was scandalized that someone who had been arrested could breathe the same air she did.So I guess I am sensitive when I read your comments.

    I would hope that you could address your safety concerns without being adamant against hiring someone who may have had a physical crime charge. Employers are going to be even more cautious than you because they know they have to protect their employees & their reputation. What should be considered is their age at the time of the offense, the circumstances, how long ago it was & what they’ve done to change themselves since then.If it was say 5 years or more ago, a 1 time event & with proof of good behavior since then, I’d hope you might be willing to think about giving someone a chance.

    And thanks for your good wishes for my brother. So far he hasn’t found anyone willing to take a chance to prove himself. He is now an advocate as well & hopes that he can help educate people that a “felon” isn’t always the scary, creepy person you think. They can be the person next to you in church, helping at a local food bank, or the person that helps you change your flat tire on the side of the road. Just remember this quote from Bryant McGill:”A mistake made by many people with great convictions is that they will let nothing stand in the way of their views, not even kindness.”.

  • Lauren says:

    That’s okay, sounds like you didn’t know where I was coming from- as I said I was referring to those convicted of a violent felony- someone on this thread was suggesting that many who apply for jobs who have a violent felony was some guy who slapped or punch another guy in a bar. Not gonna happen- but I know it’s human nature to cling and insist on what one wants to believe- but it’s just nonsense and not reality that district attorneys send people for prison sentences because they slapped someone in a bar—- my brother said a district attorney in his area said “that’s just drunk people being drunk” so, yea …. hmmm… anyways a person who does prison for a violent felony would not be someone who slapped someone or just yelled or screamed at someone… I was hoping at least this would be an honest debate. District attorneys don’t bother prosecuting for someone such as a guy who got in a bar fight unless they did serious bodily injury to the person- serious bodily injury. So I’ve found some of those posts to be really disingenuous. We all know a guy slapping another guy in a bar isn’t prosecuted for a felony charge and sent away to priso . Maybe spend the night in the city slammer. Not the same.

    As far as not worrying about a person who has a track record of rape, kidnapping, felony domestic resulting in serious injury etc – majority of violent offenders go on to commit future violence- no matter how much support they have, as not having enough money is not the cause of committing assault or rape etc. Like the saying goes “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”— when it comes to certain crimes- including child molestation. Some years ago there was a well known case that was a tragic crime where a 30 something yr old man lured a 5 yr old girl into his car, with the line he was looking for his lost puppy( sociopath much?) kidnapped, raped and murdered her, then dumped her naked body on a hiking trail in a sick pose. Google Samantha Runnion- it was even more tragic and this is the part I’m getting to- because the man/ monster who killed Samantha who would have celebrated her 6th birthday a week later, had molested his girlfriends daughter and her friend couple years before, but, alas he got off and so he wasn’t securely behind bars- he was out on the streets- and surprise surprise, being a predator he did it again but this time in a much more violent and sadly, lethal manner so he would get caught this time he killed his victim. RIP Samantha Runnion…..

  • Lauren says:

    I forgot to include his name- in the Samantha Runnion abduction/rape/murder case, Alejandro Avila- it must be especially gut wrenching for her parents – and to know that this man/monster Avila had a couple years prior got off a charge where he had molested two other little girls. If only… he had been where he belonged behind bars Samantha today would be a beautiful vibrant 20 something year old. That is what Avila did with his second chance- he didn’t straighten the f up and do whatever to make sure his sick need was contained- he ended up seeing her that day and concocting a story of a lost puppy to lure her towards his car…..now he is where he belongs thank God

  • Tom says:

    There are a couple things inherently wrong with your argument. One, just because it never happens in your district doesn’t mean it’s never or doesn’t happen. I know people first hand who have violent felony convictions for defending themselves. It’s not about belief when I’ve seen it first hand. I am an advocate for not painting everyone with a broad brush. The case you mentioned above is exceedingly rare. Probably rarer then someone catching an assault charge for slapping someone. They are just highly emotional and headline catching when they do happen. Violent crime has nearly dropped by 50% in the last decade or so yet people feel that these things happen more often despite what the statistics show. The case above is tragic and that guy deserves more than a prison sentence but cases like his amount to less than a fraction of a percent of cases. Which means that the chances of you encountering someone like him at your work place is miniscule at best and even more unlikely considering someone like him would probably receive multiple life sentences. The reality is you are still living a dream, most people with violent offenses aren’t serial rapists/murderers. Even amongst murders the rate they commit a new murder is close to 0% except for the few truly sociopaths out there. But considering that there are so few of those sociopaths that the murder recividism rate is still basically zero should tell you something. They may go on to commit other crimes like theft, etc. The point is, cases like Samantha’s are exceedingly rare when the whole picture is taken into account and to punish everyone else does more harm then good.

  • Lauren says:

    Research and studies have revealed a much higher than average percent of violent offenders are sociopathic. Defining traits of a sociopath are incapable of remorse, take risks the rest of us wouldn’t and don’t learn from punishment.
    My brother who is became a defense attorney bc of feeling compassion and wanting to help them, and has devoted almost two decades to it, and spent a ton of time meeting with his clients in prison did at the same time comment to me once that unfortunately many of them are sociopathic and not going to change and how after working so hard on an inmates case to help him said he blew up at him and started to try and attack him.

    I saw this past summer there was an incident at Del Nor Hospital in Illinois, May 2017, where an inmate Teyvon Salters was admitted over several days for medical treatment and ended up overpowering the guard, took his gun, took two nurses caring for him hostage beating both of them and raping one of them in a locked closet. This apparently wasn’t an isolated incident as the news article says, this is something naively honestly for some reason never occurred to me- there is a substantial risk to medical personnel with custody patients according to the article.

    No I didn’t say we should “punish everyone” by the way…

  • Chuck Gallagher says:

    Now this makes sense. There’s a triggering issue that creates the perspective of a harsh attitude toward convicted felons with a violent background. If it were someone close to me or I heard of all the problems with convicted felons from close family members I’d likely feel the same way. As a convicted felon, of course, I see from a entirely different set of lenses. Take the case of Billie G in Florida. He was convicted of murder. One person at age 16 and the other at 17. He’s hispanic and was part of a gang in CT. Went to prison, was released and then committed two more murders – obviously then sent away for much longer. Now he’s the target for your original comment – murder is violent and you’d want to know if he were employed for fear it might happen again. FEAR! He was incarcerated for almost 30 years. He is now released, married, has a lovely daughter and has been gainfully employed for 7 years working with other people and (sprinkles on the icing on the cake) is speaking to high school kids (especially Hispanic) to help them avoid what he did. Should he be feared? Not from my set of lenses. He’s older. He killed 4 people all gang related from drug deals gone bad or in retaliation for killing another gang member. So would I fear him – heck no. I’m not in drugs, not in a gang, offer him no reason to hurt me and therefore have no issue with him. With the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation, for every Avila there are hundreds of us who would never harm anyone. So the question is – do you treat all violent offenders the same to protect yourself from the unlikely outcome from the one Avila’s of the world? I, by the way, am am NOT diminishing the loss of Samantha Runnion. Nor am I in ANY WAY defending Avila. His crime is sickening.

  • Lauren says:

    If he got out ( he won’t but if he did) would you have a heart and help the poor man/ monster out to give him a second chance? Seems harsh not to ( sarcasm)

  • Tom says:

    Again your lense is ignoring the context and focusing on black and white. Chuck probably would not help Avila out but he would help Billie G. You have a blanket statement against everyone who was convicted of certain crimes. The rest of us are just saying everything needs to be taken into account. I have met a fair share of people who have been convicted of murder. I would trust SOME with my life before I trusted you with it and yet SOME others I trust them about as far as I could throw them. The difference is the nuance and context of their individual situations. Not just a blanket policy of shunning an entire group. I’ve seen law abiding citizens ignore people who are in immediate need of help in an emergency while someone with a criminal record for assault rushed head first into danger. I don’t judge people until I get to know them. Period. Would someone with a murder on their record make me cautious? Yes, it would but I wouldn’t automatically dismiss him because of it.

  • Tom says:

    Ben, make sure your bother keeps trying and to think of other avenues people haven’t thought of. I was recently denied employment at a Fortune 500 company due to the background check but instead of throwing in the towel (since this was a dream job) I sent a letter to the CEO himself. I figured it was a long shot but worth a try. I pleaded my case and just wanted to be given a chance. He ended up forwarding my case to the top HR executive in this 70,000+ employee company and they looked into my situation. Fast forward 4 weeks and they re-extended my job offer and will be proceeding with my hiring. I’ll be making almost 80k a year at this job and I’m sure you guys can imagine how thankful and happy I am for this opportunity. You really just have to keep trying and my best advice that I have is you have to be better then anyone else. Not just skill and experience wise, you have to be more friendly, likable, sincere and humble. You literally have to be better in every way if you want people to overlook your past and give you a second chance. I filled out almost 1k applications, dozens of interviews and many rescinded job offers. Using my case as an example, maybe have him get in touch with a previous company that rescinded his offer. Maybe he can convince them to have a change of heart. Best of luck.

  • Lauren says:

    I saw a post saying that bc her boyfriend.? Spouse? Whatever he is she said he has difficulty finding high paying jobs due to his felony status and she feels he should be able to get social security benefits….? Sorry but unless he’s elderly or has a diagnosed disability that interferes w his ability to work he isn’t entitled to get free money – there’s no free money for “I committed felonies “ status
    Unless he really is elderly but I didn’t get that idea from the post

  • Christine says:

    Wish there more employers like you. I was convicted cause of knowing n not telling on them. Now I pay fir it every year

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