Visit the US Department of Justice
National Institute of Corrections
Corrections Community

A place where all corrections professionals can interact and collaborate.

You are not signed in! To post comments and participate in discussions you need to sign in or create a free account.

Career Choices for Ex Offenders

rated by 0 users
This post has 9 Replies | 6 Followers

Not Ranked
Points 56
mattbrown555 Posted: Thu, Jan 21 2010 7:52 AM
I work for a company that helps people on welfare find jobs and we get a lot of clients with criminal backgrounds. We have a hard time finding them a career they can get into with their criminal background. The only one that's easy is Food Service, but we want to find more. Alot of our manufacturers don't want people with criminal backgrounds, healthcare is big in this area and they won't touch anyone with a background. So can anyone help?
Not Ranked
Points 39
Alea2010 replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 4:26 PM
Hi. My name is Alea. I am going back to college for business management. I have a two part question. First is "can you recommend any jobs in the Dayton, OH area that will hire me in that particular field with my criminal background and two I need to find a part-time job while I wait to start school in August and while I am attending. Can you recommend any job options other than food service that might consider me?" I am on federal probation for "fraud and tampering with evidence and related activity" and county probation for essentially the same charge. I got charged twice for the same crimes. Local and federal. I have completed a 6 month residential treatment program, attend after-care groups twice a week, report to both probation officers once a week and random drug screen analysis from all representatives. I have maintained sobriety for ten months and counting. If you have any advice or suggestions for employment, I am more than grateful to hear from you. Yours Thankfully, Alea A. Bermudez AAB012480@YAHOO.COM Alea Bermudez @ FaceBook
Top 150 Contributor
Level 2 MVP
Points 529
Dave Koch replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 9:26 PM
Hey Alea - My most recent blog article might help. "Getting out and staying out. Landing that first job after release from prison." http://www.dkoch.net/Daves_Blog/Daves_Blog.html - Dave

Dave Koch - (614) 364-4085

Not Ranked
Points 71
I appreciate your common sense advise, Dave, and your willingness to talk from your personal experiences. What you say about credibility is applicable to mattbrown555; who wants to expand employment options for the people he is trying to help with criminal records. Just as former offenders need to build trust -- patiently -- intermediary organizations need to do the same with employers. And this means building relationships and diligently supporting these relationships in a way that employers come to know over time that they can count on you. We run an alternative staffing agency for former offenders in Chattanooga where both our mission and our margin depend on this. Too many kind-hearted, good-intentioned people working for faith-based and community organizations are just looking for a break for their clients not realizing that job referrals that end poorly are a liability for their mission and those they serve as employers start to distrust them. My recommendation to mattbrown555 is to put the time into cultivating these relationships. We spend half our time managing customer relationships...and probably should be spending more. On one hand, this commitment of time recognizes that these relationships are valuable, and on the other hand, it suggests that part of our mission is to help community partners (employers, landlords, schools, credit unions, etc) learn how to engaged former offenders in ways that are both safe and mutually beneficial. The only thing I would add to your post "Landing that first job after release from prison" is a recognition of the role community leaders play in fueling recidivism by withholding opportunities and restricting access for former offenders. No matter how much the criminal justice system does preparing prisoners for reentry, their success ultimately depends on people extending a legitimate second chance when they come home.
Top 150 Contributor
Level 2 MVP
Points 529
Dave Koch replied on Sun, Jul 18 2010 5:39 PM

Tim – I travel the country extensively visiting prisons, jails and reentry organizations. I have found only a few community organizations that appreciate the necessity of building genuine relationships with employers, and holding the value of those relationships sacred. There are some, but very few.

Based upon your description, I am left with the impression that you are not a non-profit, and that your continued existence relies upon the fundamentals of capitalism, which clearly necessitates building and maintaining long-term relationships with your clients.

You suggest that there is a need for community leaders to stop fueling recidivism by withholding opportunities and access. However, this observation is preceded by you with your oratory regarding the need to build trusting relationships with the community and employers, and your observation that some organizations might sacrifice an employer relationship in exchange for a single (poor) placement.

I wholly agree that there is a need for the community leaders, civic leaders, employers and civilized society in its entirety to show greater tolerance and provide individuals with that second chance. However, quite candidly, you rather eloquently point out the fact that such trusting and enduring relationships are earned through a process of proven performance. Trust can never be demanded nor can it be an expectation at the genesis of any relationship, particularly when there is reasonable cause for some skepticism.

I have had some opportunities to address audiences of employers with respect to working with placement organizations that are focused on the ex-offender demographic. Invariably the number one concern is whether or not the intermediary is sending them applications for the sake of moving people through a process, or if they are sending an individual who has genuinely earned the referral.

I would love to see the attitude and policies that you express duplicated throughout the nation. If we hope to increase that community tolerance you reference, performance based long-term relationships that demonstrate an escalating constituency of successful individuals is key.

My travels take me southbound beginning around November. Perhaps we can visit on my next pass through Tennessee.

Dave Koch - (614) 364-4085

Not Ranked
Points 71
Dave: We're actually a nonprofit...and treat our placements as remunerative work training. There are good arguments on both sides (operating as a nonprofit vs operating as a for profit). Ultimately, we decided to sacrifice the easier course to protect our mission of second chances. What I mean in my challenge to community leaders to provide opportunities is more of a recognition that they hold an important key to reentry. It doesn't really matter what programs are in place in prison if no one in the community will give a second chance. I believe that it is the duty of intermediaries to find ways to make it safe and simple for people in positions of influence to make decisions that create opportunities for former offenders. But the cold fact is that someone has to move first. We can't cultivate trusting relationships out of thin air. Thanks you for your comments. I can see that we share some similar ideas about how to succeed after prison. And please give me a call when your passing through Tennessee. I spend time in Nashville and Chattanooga. My email address is tdempsey@reconx.org
Not Ranked
Level 1 MVP
Points 42
Ignovi replied on Mon, Aug 16 2010 8:07 PM
Mattbrown555, Dealing with ex-offenders is extremely difficult when related to employment opportunities. And from my experience I see this nationwide, not just in your area. What we do here at Ignovi is work with as many clients as we can helping them to get out from the stigma of always being classified as an ex-offender and overcoming that portion of their past. From the research that I personally have done and the staff with Ignovi, we know that Tennessee is a very difficult state to get records cleared in. Even expungements for arrest records in which the charges were dropped or the person was found innocent are at times difficult. I will take for granted that you are aware of the Federal programs available to help ex-offenders gain employment. However those (like I am sure you are also aware) typically do not work. The reason is not necessarily that the program offering is poor or badly implemented. The true reason behind most companies (even if they are educated about the programs) is the insurance companies that they deal with. Unofficially, I have been informed that for every felony ex-offender that is employed with a company, the insurance cost (typically the liability insurance provider) can go up as much as 5%. While I cannot attest to that fact, I can say that the information provided to me was from a VP of Human Resources for a company that had roughly 3000 employees in six states. In this economy, many companies cannot afford any additional cost associated with their business operations. So I do sympathize with your situation in trying to find meaningful employment for ex-offenders. The greatest help that I can provide in this arena is to help your organization with the expungment, record sealing, and/or clemency petitions for these ex-offenders. While it may not be available for every client you are dealing with, I'm sure that we can help quite a few of them. You can contact us at www.ignovi.com and we will be glad to assist you and your clients in anyway possible.
Not Ranked
Level 1 MVP
Points 42
Ignovi replied on Mon, Aug 16 2010 8:28 PM
Timothy, I can only commend you for your efforts. Ideally, if the criminal justice system and the publics view on ex-offenders were improved, those relationships could be even more dramatic that you engage with the local businesses. Education to the employers and having a system in place that allows for those ex-offenders to gain meaningful employment would help not only your local area but many areas across the country. I speak with people most everyday that are so remorseful for their previous actions (some of which have gone back 30 years) and with the current environment it is extremely difficult in getting a new job, housing, or many other aspects that American's somewhat take for granted. The importance of helping those ex-offenders that do have a chance to redeem themselves is extremely important. That is why Ignovi was founded. Our dedication to helping people get their life back on track is what everyone at this company is dedicated to. I will not mislead you in anyway, Ignovi is not the solution for everyone but we can easily identify (usually within 15 minutes) the likelihood & success of helping people regain their lives by clearing of their criminal arrest and conviction record. If you would like to contact us, www.ignovi.com, we can see what options we may be able to provide to your clients. We have done this with several re-entry programs from California to Florida already. We only seek to help people come back and contribute to society and in most every case we have dealt with have been successful. For example the re-entry program we are working with in California is dedicated (through ministry) to help those people see a much better way of life and obtain a multitude of benefits moving forward. They deal with both state and federal offenders and literally every type of offender that there can be. So we have pretty much seen just about every type of crime that you may be faced with in dealing with your own clients. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Ignovi
Not Ranked
Level 1 MVP
Points 133
Phillip replied on Fri, Sep 23 2011 12:37 AM

Hi Alea,

  Perhaps only you are the person who is struggling with your self for re establishing your self, to join the main stream of society. Yes it is very difficult to re Establishment your self. Coming to the point - At first I would like to know your qualification, skills, education so that I can give you some better options.

You have mentioned you are going to college for your business management, you can easily get good job of marketing, finance, office management. Make a good resume, post it on job sites, also approach directly to them, definitely will get the results

Not Ranked
Points 5

Have you considered private sector? I would recommend considering craigslist as source to find competitive work for these folks.

Page 1 of 1 (10 items) | RSS