Hiring Complications for Felons
Following incarceration obtaining a job can be a very difficult task, especially if the incarceration was due to felony charges. Many lose their former positions of employment, despite the kind of position they held. One individual stated that he lost his manager position at a grocery store chain and could not be rehired following his prison release.
A majority of employers will not hire felons, and will not do so solely on the basis of a past felony. This can stand for a felony committed twenty years in the past or five years ago. Some company policies will prohibit any felon from applying for a job position. Many job application forms will state that any felonious record will result in lack of hire. Some applications even advise to not even apply if a criminal record is present. One individual stated that he could not obtain a dishwashing job with a fast food chain because the application requested that no convicted felon apply.
Because obtaining employment is a difficult process, many return to their old habits and fall back into the drug industry or other illegal forms of making money. So how do those with felony records get jobs? Since most states do not allow felony convictions to be expunged, each individual with a criminal history is legally obligated to state any prior offenses. Such indications will eliminate most job opportunities. Some options for obtaining employment currently exist. A few individuals who have been fortunate enough to obtain employment offer their experiences and advice.
There are currently fourteen states that allow certain felonies to be expunged. Many stipulations apply and can include only the expungement of a first-time felony. Utah, Arizona, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Florida, Illinois, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California allow some kinds of felony offenses to be expunged but exclude others.
Felonies that are excluded in all states include those that are considered capital offenses, first-degree offenses, felonies involving sexual crimes towards minors, violent crimes, and forcible crimes. With misdemeanors and other infractions that are allowed to be expunged, an individual may legally state that he or she never committed the offense. This is most often the case of expunged felony offenses.
However some statutes require an individual state that he or she committed a felony offense, despite an expunged record. Expungement only eliminates an offense from public viewing in these cases, not the obligation to state an offense.
When asked how they obtained a job in the work force, three individuals with past felony convictions offered their experiences. One stated that he never found commercial employment because stating a criminal history eliminated all possibilities. He now works as a freelance writer because it eliminates all personal contact.
Another stated that he obtained employment through commissioned sales roles. In these cases employees are judged on their personal performance rather than records. However not all sales occupations will allow for this kind of hire and instead do base their evaluations on criminal records.
The final individual had a slightly different tale. Prior to incarceration he worked as a contractor and hired, a majority of the time, those with criminal records. Following incarceration he was unable to find the same kindness and advises those to become self-employed. He currently works for himself in his own business where he can, again, hire whomever he pleases. He is trying to be a solution to this serious problem – he knows that denying everybody with felonies from gainful employment actually results in more crime.
Self-employment is not an option for every individual. The amount of education an individual has will limit or increase his or her chances of creating a business or being qualified for independent employment. It is advisable to return to school to acquire an education and the skills to support the self. Opportunities for self-employment are often based on skill level and education.
Luckily there are several ways for individuals to obtain education through inexpensive means, online, or through night courses. Many courses only take a few months, so employment opportunities can move forward quickly. The opportunities for self-employment can include a self-owned business venture, freelance writing, online call opportunities, contract work, and many forms of design for online purposes and practical purposes.
Education can be a helpful — but not guaranteed — way of finding employment. One individual said that without education, applying for jobs can be wasteful because the job market is going to hire a qualified, college educated individual instead.
Nearly all job applications have a section that requires individuals to state whether or not they have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Under law those who have been convicted of felonies and are considered felons are required to answer accordingly. The chance of lying can cause strong repercussions.
In many markets future employers will run background checks on potential employees, whether or not the criminal section of an application was filled in. Backgrounds searches are very simple to perform and can be done on the Internet. On the off chance that a felon is employed by a company or business who requested criminal history but did not perform a background check, that individual runs the risk of termination and severe consequences if and when his or her employer discovers his or her criminal history.
How long it takes for an individual to obtain employment depends on the state, the region, any employment vacancies, and present circumstances. Some individuals never find employment in the ordinary workforce. One individual said that after one year of job hunting he gave up, while another found employment in one week.
Contact information can also decrease an individual’s length of unemployment. Working for a family member or a friend can be an option. The time length in which it takes to create and build a business can also dictate the amount of time an individual is unemployed.
The difficulties of finding employment can be decreased or increased, depending on an individual’s situation. After exiting prison, parole officers can provide employment suggestions while individuals are still on probation. Many of these include maintenance working, gardening, and cleaning. Parole officers can also have contacts and can sometimes set up interviews.
The emotional stress of taking a minimum wage paying job can be degrading for some but since the options are limited, degradation should not be a key consideration. On the other hand some do not have difficulties at all and are fortunate enough to find loopholes in the job market system.
When asked what advice he had for other convicted felons searching for employment, one individual said that education is key. Education does not necessarily mean a college degree, it can also mean learning a trade or a skill that can lead to a specialty. These can include painting, construction, welding, and other forms of labor that can be self-employing and learned quickly.
Another individual advises those searching jobs to search in entrepreneurial roles and sale commissions. He suggests creating a personal maintenance company that can be contracted.
One individual who was incarcerated for felony theft went into business for himself after repeatedly being turned down for jobs because of his criminal status. After doing much research he found several ways of becoming self-employed and became successful in doing so. He suggests different avenues for individuals with different skill levels. A majority of suggestions are based in the repair business and require physical labor.
Fence repair can be a valuable business, depending on the area and community. Repairing and building fences can make anywhere between fifty and one hundred dollars an hour. However prior to beginning an individual must first obtain an occupational license and purchase the proper tools for work. These tools can amount around six hundred dollars and can easily pay for themselves in minimal time.
The occupation as a handyman is also an option that encompasses the repair business but can require more skills. Despite the necessity for more skills, a business as a handyman can result in high profits.
Other opportunities include house painting, lawn mowing, and re-grouting bathrooms. Landscaping and establishing nurseries for plants, shrubs, and trees can result in beneficial profits. Some nurseries will provide wholesale accounts for these kinds of businesses.
A more detailed suggestion includes a pet waste disposal service that can increase significantly. In this kind of business each client can be charged twenty dollars per week. With one hundred customers the profits can amount to two thousand dollars each week. A majority of self-employed repair and maintenance businesses require a clientele base. This may take some time to establish but word of good work and honesty can travel quickly. Other forms of employment can include a mobile oil changing business, a barber business, a locksmith company, or a car detailing business.
Outside of the Box
Some job opportunities seem quite obvious outside of self-employment, maintenance, or family businesses. However many of these jobs can be overlooked because they seem quite obvious. One well-known company that is lesser-known for hiring convicted felons is UPS. Delivering parcels can amount to job stability, a steady income, and a moderate salary.
Depending on the crime and the circumstances surrounding a crime, individuals with criminal records can enter the United States Army. A recruiter will be able to verify if a crime eliminates entrance eligibility. Commercial driving can also be an unknown option. Trucking companies often hire those with criminal histories but a trucking license will first need to be acquired.
Any kind of business that is conducted over the telephone will most often hire felons. Customer service agents do not require personal contact and can also provide steady income. Other forms of finding jobs can come through temp agencies. Many of these jobs, however, do require physical labor.
Independent contracting may not bring in a steady income automatically but over time word of mouth can create hired profits. Obtaining employment in a private or small business can also be an option. Since larger, chain businesses often do not hire felons, smaller businesses may. Interviewing with a small business, notably its owner, can allow for personal contact and establishment rather than just a piece of paper that notes criminal history.
One of the most profitable jobs that does not require pre-screening or background checking is GPT online services. All services are conducted online, eliminating personal contact. GPT services come in all varieties and payment amounts. Since all services are online they can also be done as often or as little as an individual desires.
The District of Columbia has created a program for those who have been incarcerated, called the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. This agency focuses on the kind of skills that individuals have and help them find jobs in those areas. These jobs are supervised and are often based in the community.
More than two thousand individuals are released from incarceration each year, for both misdemeanors and felonies, and the CSOSA allows these individuals to become employed. The CSOSA believes that by providing job opportunities and helping individuals obtain those jobs, they will be more likely to help the community rather than to return to their old habits that resulted in their incarcerations. However the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency is based in the nation’s capital and may restrict eligibility due to distance.
Nonetheless the CSOSA also provides training and educational services called the Vocational Opportunities, Training, Education, and Employment Unit. Another service that the CSOSA provides is addressing hiring necessities through pre-screening and previous job experience. Outside of being employed by the community, those working through the CSOSA can be employed by many businesses and companies under specific supervision. This allows felons and misdemeanants to have eligibility for Federal tax credits.
The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency strives to reduce recidivism, increase the safety of the public, prevent future crimes, and support the fair justice administration. The CSOSA helps increase public safety through providing jobs and opportunities that individuals otherwise would not have encountered. The agency allows individuals to be accountable for their actions and to reintegrate themselves into normal society. Though the jobs provided are supervised, they are another opportunity for felons and misdemeanants to better themselves and better their communities.