Finding Jobs for Convicted Felons
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Felon employment information and satistics In 2006, the number of felons in America soared up to 7.2 million, and the number hasn't changed too greatly since then.
Effects of Felons on Society
Considering the nature of their crimes, it's often very difficult for a convicted felon to get back into society, and it's even more difficult for them to find work, housing and support to help them readjust to life outside of prison. A tarnished record prevents employment since employers are usually unwilling to hire someone with a poor history, which leads to major consequences on society.
Even when the economy is in fair shape, former felons still have difficulty trying to find work, facing a 75 percent unemployment rate the first year out of prison. Without a job, former offenders need to rely on the taxpayers and public assistance for help, especially since they still have fees to pay for being out on parole in most cases. Without a job, they cannot pay the fees, so taxpayers often continue to pay for unemployed offenders.
Without an appropriate means of making money, ex-felons can fall into the trap of getting into further legal trouble. For instance, states with a welfare system often pay too little to live with, so felons have the tough decisions on what to do in order to pay their bills while remaining housed. By employing ex-felons, the crime rate can be reduced and can give them goals along with more self-esteem.
Without jobs for felons, most are likely uninsured, and prisoners often have mental issues that require treatment to maintain. They will not receive the same treatment anymore once released from prison, and public programs in society often have long lines or limited treatment. This means felons suffering from mental illnesses can strike again without receiving the treatment they require, affecting society while sick or living off of the street.
Living on the Street
It's difficult enough for former felons to find housing due to their history as most landlords will perform background checks. Additionally, low-housing income is usually not an option either if an applicant has been convicted of a felony. When a former offender cannot find felon jobs, he affects society by being forced to live on the street and eat at soup kitchens. Nobody wants people to be homeless, but unemployed felons drive up these numbers.
Not all felons are forced to poverty. For example, Arizona is a felon-friendly state, and the state hires those with such blemishes on their record. Colorado is also friendly to felons, even permitting them to vote when on probation.
Felon Job & Employment Programs
It's difficult enough to get a job in such a bad economy, even without having a felony on one's criminal record. With the blemish, the odds of remaining unemployed are exponentially greater. In New York alone, the unemployment rate for convicted felons is about 60 percent. However, there are several programs that felons can apply for when they need work.
Xamire Felon Help Network We are a free service for users to add, and view jobs, and housing that accept felons, as well as view state and federal programs. There is a also a large community of members that help each other, and answer questions. New jobs, housing, and information are added daily.
America Works This is a personalized service that helps out workers who are hard to place, such as felons. America Works is available for former felons in Washington, D.C., Maryland, New York and California, placing them in entry-level positions like cashiers, security guards, customer service representatives, mail room clerks, word processors or warehouse workers. There are also opportunities for education, including GED courses, vocational training, college credits and even ESL training.
Salvation Army Prisoner Rehabilitation Program This program has ties with parole officers, prisons and probation officers throughout the country, offering services like employment opportunities in cooperation with such personnel, pre-release job training programs and material aid. Additionally, former prisoners may go to designated halfway houses and participate in programs for work.
Chrysalis Based in Los Angeles, Chrysais is a nonprofit organization that will directly hire ex-felons while also providing support and resources for those looking for former felon jobs. Some of its programs for employment include Chrysalis Recycling, Chrysalis Works, a professional cleaning and street maintenance service, as well as Chrysalis Staffing, an agency for staffing. Finally, it offers instruction and classes in skills like job retention, basic computer training, interview preparation, resume writing, job search strategy and anger management.
H.I.R.E. Network Available in all 50 states, the H.I.R.E. Network is a clearinghouse of programs designed to get felons back into the workforce. Its programs include local service providers and a means of providing information for employers looking to hire former felons.
Other Felon Jobs
As previously mentioned, felons have difficulty when it comes to finding work, being struck from consideration due to their history before an employer will even look at their qualifications. Additionally, felons are not eligible to obtain some licenses that some jobs require. While programs can benefit felons, it helps to know what kind of jobs are available in the first place.
Felons qualified to work in construction can usually find work in the industry. The government may offer fidelity bonds to a company so that they may hire felons without worry about losing money; the government will compensate them for the money loss if a felon misbehaves on the job. Felons experienced in the industry may not need to start at an entry-level position, either; even without experience, available positions can quickly result in promotions despite a criminal history. Above all, productivity and craftsmanship are appreciated. Though it can be difficult to work in construction or tedious mentally, it is often better pay than other jobs.
Plumbing, carpentry framing, electrical work or other trade work are also viable options. Without experience, felons may need to begin at the entry level, but it is similar to construction in that it is fairly easy to advance and gain fair pay. Depending on the state, some additional licenses may be required to advertise the service, even if a felon is only making a claim to a prospective employer, so it's important to check what the regulations are with a probation officer.
If a job is out of the question, freelancing is one way to be one's own boss and never having to undergo any kind of background check. The industry value depends strictly on one's portfolio, so putting together an impressive website or book of results with some information about clients will be far more important than one's legal issues. Creative freelancing is often easier to take on when clients are large enough to offer budgets that are reasonable, which is usually in major metropolitan areas. At first, some people will ask a prospective hire to offer free samples. If the job has been advertised to be a job, this is unlawful and unethical, so feel free to say no and report the business to a labor department.
In a similar vein, anybody can start one's own business and be a boss. It can be difficult to deal with this as a felon because they must handle other issues like paying off debt, handling emotional problems or rebuilding relationships. Some felons may also work better with stable paychecks and a structured environment, but if one finds it is easier to deal without the judgement and social pressure, this is an excellent avenue to try. Read about starting your own business as a felon