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Felons & Job Opportunities

Updated on April 26, 2012

My husband is a felon.

He has admitted to his crimes, he has served his time, he has paid back every cent of restitution.

He cannot find decent employment.

Does he have a job? Yes.

He delivers various newspapers.

Are we lucky he has any type of job at all in this economy? Yes.

Does he want a better job or quite possibly a career? Absolutely!

We're very lucky that I have a great job which I love and let's me provide for my family comfortably.

Some Background

My husband committed property crimes at the ages of 13 & 14 years old.

This consisted of stealing cars or as the State of Wisconsin likes to put it "Operating a motor vehicle without owners consent".

If you looked him up, you'd find a few other miscellaneous charges, including attempting to escape.

If you spoke with him, you'd find out why. I can tell you in my own words but it just doesn't seem to have the impact as speaking with him personally.

His father was the person that was there for him. No matter which prison in the state he was put into, his dad was there every week to see him. The last time he saw his father was on a visit in prison in 2001. He was all of 18 years old. The prison system would not allow him out to attend his father's funeral and he attempted to escape while going through his grieving process. He also paid for that mistake with an additional 11 months added to his sentence.

Let's go back to what he did.

Stole cars. He didn't physically harm anyone, he didn't murder or rape anyone. He stole a few cars.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diminish his crimes by any means. I'm attempting to get across that they were awful harsh on a teenager with the sentencing they handed down. I read in the news daily how murderers & rapists are getting much less time in prison and it makes me sick.

The Department of Health & Human Services in this "wonderful" county decided that they couldn't handle him. He was too much of a problem and they wanted him waived to adult court. At the age of 14, for stealing cars.

The Department of Corrections didn't want him, he was too young and afterall, he didn't do anything to hurt anyone, he stole cars.

Someone somewhere managed to get him waived to adult court.

The DHHS would have had to accept him back to waive him back to juvenile court. They refused. The DOC had no decent means of imprisoning a non-violent 14 year old other than to send him to regular adult prison.

Jail Time & then Prison

He spent from age 14 to 16 in the local county jail.

At 16, he was transferred into the adult prison system in Wisconsin in 1999.

He was released in April of 2008. Yes, you did read that correctly. He spent from 1997 to 2008 locked up, for stealing cars.

He has been on parole, has been in no trouble, and has not been revocated at all. He grew up in prison basically. He had to learn to live out here. They say they're teaching you how to survive once you get out, but they're not. I've seen it first hand, they throw them out the door with a kick in the ass and good luck.

Do they owe him anything, well no, not really. He has no sense of entitlement about anything.

He just wants a job.

Did they make a mistake throwing a non-violent criminal into the adult prison system as a teenager? I believe so.

Finding a job with a record isn't easy. Everyone judges without asking questions.

You can't lie, the records are public and easily found online now.

If you tell the truth, the other 500 applicants are going to get a call back before you.

We've all made mistakes as teenagers and many were just lucky enough to not get caught (including myself). You move on, you grow up. Why can't a person who made these mistakes and was unlucky enough to get caught, move on and grow up also?

He's going to be 29 years old next month.

He's a very decent man. He's my husband, the step-father to my children and I'm a Mama Bear when it comes to my children. He's loving, caring, hard working, loyal, and believe it or not, honest!

I imagine his resume ends up in a garbage pile 75% of the time.

He's applied for hundreds of jobs, even up to an hour and a half away from home. Even in a neighboring state. He's had a total of four interviews.

So are there felon friendly companies out there?

I'm beginning to believe that there are not.


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    • profile image

      Rachael 3 years ago

      I am also a felon. My crime was a crime against persons, but that was only by the grace of God. I was convicted of conspiracy to commit arson. What I didn't know was that there were people in the house... including a newborn. No one was hurt and the fire was put out quickly.

      My point is this; I worked for a big carpet company in accounts payable inputting data into spreadsheets. Then I was hired away by a small law firm doing accounts receivable. I was basically in charge of myself and then, because of how well I did, my position was expanded.

      When I had a medical emergency I had to take a leave of absence. I decided not to go back because of the stress and travel time (I had also moved out of that city). When I was healed and recovered from my surgery and medical issue I went back to school. Towards the end of my degree in Electrical Engineering I found another job to help pay the bills. I was hired by another law firm as an office manager.

      All of them knew I was a felon. All of them gave me a chance. I was blessed to have a husband who was a contractor who also started out as my boss. I was able to use that time and our customers as a reference. I was also rejected by a number of companies. Especially right after I got out of jail and was newly into my parole. And parole IS, in my opinion, set up to make the individual fail. The prisons are private, for profit businesses. They only make money when their cells are full.

      However, as time passed and I put years between the present and the offense, it became easier for people to trust me. I was proving that I was not a career criminal.

      While your husbands crime was not "hurting anyone", it was for stealing. Businesses are very leery of people that are caught for stealing because it suggests to them that they are dishonest. At the very least, it shows they are able and willing to be dishonest for personal/monetary gain. No one wants to be stolen from. No that your husband is dishonest. I'm just letting you know what some of them could be thinking.

      There are actually "felon friendly" companies. Businesses who hire convicted felons get special tax breaks for doing so. It is something that he can make them aware of (make sure he talks to a knowledgeable tax attorney to find out exactly what is available in your state specifically and the exact name of the Federal program) as an incentive to hire him.

      Does he do any volunteer work? Is he involved in the community? Things like that will greatly help show his character. I know it was crucial for me.

      Anyway, I wish you both the best of luck. It's tough, but it does get better. He got screwed for sure. Oh, depending on the specific laws for your state he may be able to either 1.) get his records "expunged" or "sealed" or 2.) receive a pardon from the Governor (especially if it is towards the end of their term) after meeting certain criteria.

      I'm surprised he didn't appeal his sentence and win based on the facts as you present them here.

    • upsidedownworld profile image

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      It gets very discouraging. He applied for a job, there were 5 openings. The woman who called to set up the interview sounded very encouraging. He went to the interview the next day. He said it went well. The woman had actually known his father and had attended his funeral and said she would call the next day. She did not call. He called to follow up. She said they had filled all positions, but would keep his resume on file. This was an assembly line job recycling old electronics, sounds easy enough. He really wanted it too. I was checking new postings for online jobs today. The company he applied at posted a new one, dated today. They're still hiring for 3 positions. *sigh*

    • upsidedownworld profile image

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      Thanks for the suggestions Conservative Lady... and the luck, I'm sure we'll need it!

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      What the courts did to your husband was wrong - no doubt about that. But the idea of "felon friendly" companies makes no sense either. He may benefit from a well crafted cover letter explaining what you have outlined here. Maybe he should look into starting a small business of some kind, landscaping, painting, small home repairs etc... so he can build up a clientele and a positive reference list. I wish you both good luck in your journey.