Category Archives: empowerment

Returning Home- Meet Ms. Ty’Wanda Johnson

Ms. Ty’Wanda Johnson was a participant in the Empowering Choices Jail Program at the Tuscaloosa County Jail in Tuscaloosa Al. She was an attentive student and applied the materials that she learned. She is currently participating in the Empowering Choices Alternative 2 Incarceration Community Program in Tuscaloosa . The program is a 14 week Skills enrichment program aimed to assist ex offenders in making a smooth transition back into the community.

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The Beginning of the End of Halfhearted Re-Entry – Prison Path Visitor Information & Inmate Locator- Prison Path

The Beginning of the End of Halfhearted Re-Entry

Non Violent Inmates

During the last six months, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced new policies for prison reform and the reduction of our high recidivism rates. The reforms announced previously focused on the overkill of charging defendants which resulted in long  sentences for nonviolent offenders. On March 24, it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Prisons will order new requirements for the 200 plus federal halfway houses in the United States. Federal halfway houses shall provide appropriate treatment to returning citizens with  mental health and substance abuse issues. For many years, halfway houses were just halfhearted attempts at providing successful re-entry to former inmates. Returning citizens from our federal prisons were placed in halfway houses without access to health care for mental health issues and treatment for addictions. Without such treatment, it was inevitable that a substantial number of those released would become new statistics for our high recidivism rates.

Attorney General Holder stated that, “All halfway houses will have to offer standardized cognitive behavioral programs for federal inmates, and the Bureau of Prisons will set guidelines for the qualifications of instructors as well as the size and length of the classes.”

The federal halfway houses shall also provide transportation in order that former inmates can find jobs. Without transportation, returning citizens faced major obstacles in finding jobs. Many halfway houses are not near any public transportation. The studies have shown that returning citizens who are employed become productive members of society. A gourmet restaurant that employed inmates in Wales had a 12% recidivism rate compared to the national 47% recidivism rate in England.  The inmates were required to have only six- 18 months left on their sentence. The inmates also resolved any problems such as alcohol, drugs, and anger  before being allowed to work at the restaurant.

Another example of a successful state halfway house in the United States— The John R. Hay House located in Kingsport, Tennessee. The Hay House was founded in 1981 to help former inmates re-enter the community as responsible and productive citizens. The Hay House has a ninety percent success rate for its returning citizens. In the past five years, more than 1,700 individuals have entered the Hay House program. Of the 1700, 500 have earned GEDs, 899 completed alcohol and drug education and aftercare programs, and 579 completed  behavioral modification and education programs. Additionally, participants earned $1,333,457; paid $516,175 in child support, criminal injury fees, restitution, fines and court costs; and worked more than 124,000 community service hours worth an estimated $638,000.

Hay House Director, Dr. Chuck Walsh, stated that the Hay House, “Gives them a place to live, get treatment they need, medicine, get a job, pay their fines. It gives them at least a fighting chance.” Hay House costs taxpayers less than one-tenth that of imprisonment and has been recognized as a model program by the Tennessee State Department of Corrections.

The new federal policies for halfway houses are the beginning of wholehearted successful Re-Entry programs for our federal returning citizens.

ReBlogged from Prison Pathway

 

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Report Examines Private Probation Systems Funded by Probationers – CSG Justice Center

Report Examines Private Probation Systems Funded by Probationers
Thomas Barrett, destitute and living primarily off food
stamps, was arrested in 2012 for stealing a can of
beer valued at $2 and was sentenced to probation
with Sentinel Offender Services, a for-profit firm.
Despite selling his own blood plasma twice a week to
raise money, Barrett fell more than $1,000 behind in
his payments and was jailed for failure to pay.
© 2014 Jason Blalock for Human Rights Watch

 

Over a thousand courts in several states allow private companies to oversee probation, often with little government oversight or regulation. This report from Human Rights Watch, titled: Profiting from Probation: America’s “Offender-Funded” Probation Industry, describes these privatized probation systems, which are funded primarily through fines paid by offenders, and documents cases in which probationers were jailed when they did not pay such fines. To view the report, click here.

Source

DATE: 2/24/13

PUBLISHER: Human Rights Watch

LOCATION: New York, NY

URL: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/us0214_ForUpload_0.pdf

Kidney Transplant 1 yr. birthday celebration !!!

Happy Birthday Sofia

Happy Birthday Sofia

Happy Birthday Sofia.  1 year ago I had a kidney transplant at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. The staff was excellent.

I had been on dialysis for 12 years before the surgery.  Although they called my disease of the kidney End Stage Renal Disease it was not the end stage for me. I continued to live and experience life without really missing a beat. I traveled to Bahamas, Mexico and across the US. I continued as the founder and exec director of Woman2Woman Empowerment . My husband and I have moved to 3 states. I continued to do dialysis in those states. Some good places ,some not so good.

I am so thankful for the person who donated their kidney by filling out the form on the license and informing their family. I am so thankful for the Dr.who performed my surgery at UAB. I am grateful and thankful to God for blessing me with Grace to make it through the 12 years of dialysis. dialysis is not an easy experience. It is painful if you do hemo dialysis. You are subjected to being stuck with large needles every other day. It is no cake walk. Along with the failure of your kidney can come other issues. These other issues can cause you not to be a good recipient for a transplant. I thank God that through the 12 years I was able to stay reasonably healthy and a viable candidate.

I never allowed the fact that I was on dialysis to rule my life. I was aware that God was not surprised my diagnosis of kidney failure. If God was not surprised then I needed to keep moving forward. I was not one to continually say ‘I don’t receive this”. I did not deny the fact that I was on dialysis. I did  not miss treatment. I went to treatment as directed.  I believed that God was aware of my situation and would heal, recreate or replace at his discretion. So I continued for the 12 years until I was called by UAB.

I would like to say thank you to the family of the person who ‘s kidney I received. Sofia(my new kidney’s name) is functioning great. Today is Sofia’s 1st birthday in my body. I celebrate the great job that she does and pray that she continues to do so.

If you are experiencing kidney failure or any other health issue, don’t lose faith or heart. Continue to live and learn and love.  Life is an adventure and try to find something to smile about every day.

thHappy Birthday Sofia !!!!!

History on the “Black Statue of Liberty” of America

Statue of black statue of liberty

Statue of Black Statue of Liberty

History on the “Black Statue of Liberty”
The original statue of Liberty gifted by the French to America was not the stern-faced green Roman looking woman that you see today holding a tablet and a torch. The original and first Statue of Liberty was a Black woman holding the broken shackles of slavery. She was refused on the notion that the black statue would be a constant reminder of the liberty that the slaves earned, from successfully fighting in the American Civil War. The true Black Statue of Liberty remains rejected, forgotten and lost in broken fragments of Black history.
The statue of Liberty that stands today, that so many American’s love and proudly boast, that appears on all sorts of merchandise, in movies, and is the most recognized woman worldwide, is a colossal lie. Every good magician will tell you that the best way to hide something is to have it in plain sight. Undoubtably, a vast amount of important Black history – such as this – has been hidden from us all both Black and White.
Why was the Statue of Liberty Really Created?
French historian Edouard de Laboulaye, chairman of the French Anti-Slavery Society, together with sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, proposed to the French government that the people of France should present the United States – through the American Abolitionist Society – the gift of a Statue of Liberty in recognition of the Black soldiers who won the Civil War in the United States, earning themselves their freedom. It was widely known then that it was Black soldiers who played the pivotal role in winning the war, and this gift was supposed to be a tribute to their prowess.
Why was the Black Statue of Liberty Rejected?
When the statue was presented to the U.S. Minister to France in 1884, it was rejected on the notion that the dominant view of the broken shackles would be offensive to a defeated U.S. South, who despised their former captives and would not want to be faced with a constant reminder of Blacks winning their freedom.
When Did This Hidden Piece of History Publicly Resurface?
Dr. Jack Felder, a biochemist, educator, author and historian, asked this startling question in a New York newspaper, the Daily Challenge (July 16, 1990):
Did you know that the original Statue of Liberty was to have been a Black woman being liberated from slavery with broken chains in her hands and at her feet and that she also had a dark Negroid face?
In the newspaper article, Dr. Felder further writes that:
Eventually, Bartholdi built a model faithful to the wishes of de Laboulaye with broken chains at her feet and a broken chain in her left hand and a distinctly Negroid face. The broken chains were to show the broken chains of slavery.
This list is of the documents of proof, presented in the same newspaper article by Dr. Felder:

1.) You may go and see the original model of the Statue of Liberty, with the broken chains at her feet and in her left hand. Go to the Museum of the City of NY, Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street write to Peter Simmons and he can send you some documentation.
2.) Check with the N.Y. Times magazine, part II_May 18, 1986. Read the article by Laboulaye.
3.) The dark original face of the Statue of Liberty can be seen in the N.Y. Post, June 17, 1986, also the Post stated the reason for the broken chains at her feet.
4.) Finally, you may check with the French Mission or the French Embassy at the U.N. or in Washington, D.C. and ask for some original French material on the Statue of Liberty, including the Bartholdi original model.
The Journey of Edouard de Laboulaye and Frederic Auguste Bartholdi in Creating the Statue of Liberty
Edouard de Laboulaye, an internationally renowned lawyer and author of a three-volume history of the United States, first presented the idea of a symbol of the end of American slavery at a dinner party in 1865, at his country home near Versailles, France, among many abolitionists including Victor Hugo and Frederick Auguste Bartholdi.
After Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1861, the French liberals and abolitionists including Hugo, Bartholdi, and Laboulaye urged Lincoln to free the slaves even if Civil war resulted.
When the war ended in 1865, French abolitionists again urging Lincoln to free all slaves, Laboulaye and Bartholdi requested permission to build and dedicate a colossal monument to symbolize the freeing of all slaves in America. The assassination of Lincoln saw a pivotal turning point for the intended Black Statue of Liberty.
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, an outstanding French sculptor had a life changing experience the year of 1855 when he toured Egypt and saw the magnificent colossal monuments and statues created by the ancient Black Egyptians. It was this experience alongside his ties with Laboulaye that inspired Bartholdi’s creation of a giant Black ex-slave female with broken chains at her feet and left hand. One which was readily accepted in France, by 1881 some 100,000 people and 181 towns throughout France had contributed money.
In 1871, Frederic Bartholdi at the urging of Laboulaye travelled to America to promote his idea of a colossal statue symbolizing the end of chattel slavery in the United States. He took with him a large terra-cotta statue and many drawings to clearly illustrate the Black Statue of Liberty. Bartholdi found little American support for his African slave model. In 1878, as the African head of Miss Liberty first went on display at the Universal Exposition in Paris, France, rampant reaction raged throughout the American South.
Unfortunately, Bartholdi was forced to conform to specific white supremacist ideals that saw the statue evolve to the Statue of Liberty we see in New York today. The African face was re-sculptured into the face of his mother Madame Bartholdi and a tablet of law tucked into her folded arm that bears the date July 4, 1776, replaced the broken chains in the Black female slave’s left hand. Ironically, the chains were left at the feet but the meaning changed from broken American slavery to broken English tyranny.
Arguments against the Original Statue of Liberty being a Black Woman
Many Eurocentric historians have been quick to negatively respond to the emerged truth about the original Black Statue of Liberty; labeling it as a rumour at best and attacking all evidence brought forward to support the fact; however none have made as active an effort to prove that the current statue was what was originally intended. Often repetitive statements such as “no evidence” or “no support” follow statements of clear fact, but they themselves build their arguments more on rationale than evidence.
Dr. Trachtenberg, who wrote the text for the Statue of Liberty exhibition on Liberty Island and is the author of ”The Statue of Liberty” (Viking, 1976), said: ”I don’t know of any evidence that it was supposed to be a black figure initially.”
Dr. Boime of U.C.L.A. said that ”I would have pursued that belief if it had any substance, but perhaps this is a reference to the model for Bartholdi’s Suez project, which was the statue of a Nubian woman,” which was never built. A statue of a Nubian woman that was never built – again evidence in plain sight.
Some have even discredited the Civil War efforts of Black soldiers as a basis for the statue not representing the efforts of Black soldiers who won over the Civil War. However, the fact remains that without the assistance of the Black soldiers the Civil War may not have resulted in the same way.
Facts that are not Denied by Historians
French historian Edouard de Laboulaye, who originally proposed the monument, was a leader of the anti-slavery movement in his country and Frederic Bartholdi himself had connections to the abolitionist movement, as well.
Bartholdi who had visited and was inspired by Egypt, used Egypt as his principal inspiration for the Statue of Liberty.
Bartholdi’s design models for the Statue of Liberty evolved from earlier sketches by the artist of a black Egyptian women.
The original African face of the Statue of Liberty was published in The New York Post dated June 17, 1986 as part of the centennial celebration.
The original design of the statue had gone through several changes and evolved from an earlier concept Bartholdi proposed for a colossal monument in Egypt, for which the artist used his drawings of Egyptian women as models.
Bartholdi changed a broken shackle and chain in the statue’s left hand to tablets inscribed “July IV, MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776).

Crying Black Statue of Liberty

Crying Black Statue of Liberty

The original face of the statue of Liberty was dark, as copper was the chosen material of Bartholdi; copper which closely fits the skin completion of the African slaves. There are those who believe that Bartholdi knew and intended that the statue would later turn green from weathering, however it is more likely that he underestimated the drastically hard and fast damage to be caused by the weathering. There has been no attempt to restore the monumental Lady Liberty to her original copper colour.
ABC News highlighted that a 21-inch terra-cotta model by Bartholdi “designed after the likeness of a black woman” does indeed stand next to a model of the current statue in the Museum of the City of New York and around its left hand dangles a broken chain.
On review of the undisputed facts it is not so hard to believe that two Anti-Slavery Abolitionists, with a passion to see slaves in America freed and one who was greatly inspired by Egypt would create a Black Statue of Liberty to symbolize the end of slavery which Black soldiers fought hard for in the American Civil War. In fact all the evidence indicates that the original statue was modeled in the liking of a Black Egyptian woman representing freedom from slavery with her broken shackles. This historical moment in Black history was almost completely erased, by several adapted versions of the statue each closer to the acceptance of the US South and in dilution of the original intent of Bartholdi and Laboulaye. Finally the result was a statue that looks like a Roman, thus closer to Eurocentric ideals and less associated with the freedom of slaves but instead with democracy in general.
Traditional Perspective of the Statue of Liberty
The traditional view passed down the years through American educational institutions; tells that Lady Liberty was created to commemorate the friendship forged between the United States and France during the Revolutionary War. By 1903, when the statue was inscribed with Emma Lazarus’s poetic words, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” it was supposed to symbolize America’s status as a safe haven for refugees and immigrants from every corner of the world. How many truly believe heartily these words?
The African-American Perspective of the Current Statue of Liberty
Suzanne Nakasian, when director of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Foundations’ National Ethnic Campaign said that the Black Americans’ direct connection to Lady Liberty is unknown to the majority of Americans, BLACK or WHITE.
African-Americans contributed to the main fund-raising drive for the statue’s pedestal, participated in public celebrations during its dedication in New York City, along with privately organised celebrations at that time. Yet for Black Americans the Statue of Liberty has also long symbolized America’s failure to protect their civil rights. In the early 1900s, many African-Americans were victims of white supremacists and nativists who used the statue to represent their exclusionary views. Since then, continuing ambiguity among African-Americans about whether to embrace Lady Liberty as hopefully or scorn her as a symbol of American hypocrisy has been expressed in numerous works of art, political debates, and, on at least one occasion live protest. There has also been long and fierce public debate about the Immigration Museum at the Statue of Liberty, in view of the audacity that African-Americans who were brought involuntarily to America as slaves are presented as “immigrants”.
Conclusion
Despite being called the Statue of Liberty there is nothing which gives a sense of liberty about a Roman looking woman holding a tablet and a torch. Who is she liberating? Who has she fought for? The hardened expression on her face offers no warmth and there is certainly no national connection of Roman women in American history. Hiding the real history of the statue of liberty only serves to make a mockery of American democracy and ideals of freedom and liberation.
In, From the Statue of Liberty (Liberation) to the Statue of Bigotry, Dr. Felder cites Bartholdi’s words:
Colossal statuary does not consist simply in making an enormous statue. It ought to produce an emotion in the breast of the spectator, not because of the volume, but because its size is in keeping with the idea it interprets…
Why is the truth about the Black Statue of Liberty still rejected today? For the same reason the statue was rejected back then, no recognition is to be given to Black Americans, greater than that for Whites, no history to build African-American pride and certainly no markers of their equal standing among all men, are to exist in a society where the ruling class still holds to white supremacists ideals.
courtesy of “All Black Women”

reposted from http://www.allblackwoman.com/2012/06/17/the-original-statue-of-liberty-a-black-woman/

OURStory: Black Statue of LibertyElectronic Village, 19 January 2012

Monumental Rumor Sparks Fresh ResearchAbout, 02 September 2000

Cracks Found In the Myths Around Statue; Park Service Librarian Writes Book to Clarify Lady Liberty’s Origins – NY Times, October 28, 2000

Black Statue of Liberty – Summary ReportNational Park History, September 2000

Statue of LibertySnopes, 28 September 2007

Criminal Records and Getting Back into the Workforce: Six Critical Steps for Ex-offenders Trying to Get Back into the Workforce (Rosen)

Employers have become increasingly concerned about knowing if an applicant has a criminal record. More employers are conducting pre-employment background checks for criminal records. Employers have been the subject of large jury verdicts for negligent hiring in cases where they hire a person with a criminal record that harms others, and it could have been avoided by a criminal record check. That is because employers have a legal duty to exercise due diligence in the hiring process, and that duty can be violated if an employer hires someone that they either knew or should have known in the exercise of reasonable care was dangerous or unfit for a job. The concern from the employer’s point of view is that a person with a criminal past may have a propensity to re-offend in the future.

On the other hand, society also has a vested interest in helping people with a past criminal record obtain and maintain employment. It is difficult for an ex-offender to become a law abiding, tax-paying citizen without a job. Unless society wants to continue to spend its tax dollars on building more and more jails and prisons, ex-offenders need the opportunity to rejoin the workforce.

For an ex-offender, a job search can become a frustrating Catch-22. Nearly every employment application will ask in some fashion if a person has a criminal record. If a person lies, then they are always at risk of being terminated upon such a criminal record being discovered. If a person is honest and admits the past misconduct, there is a risk of not getting the job.

There is no perfect answer. A person with a criminal record is going to face greater challenges in getting employment. There are certain jobs where an employer will justifiably not hire an ex-offender.However, challenging is not the same as impossible. The key is the right attitude and getting and keeping that first job, so that as time goes by, a person has developed a successful job history that outweighs past problems.

Here are six approaches a person with a past criminal record can take:

One: Understand your rights:

A person who has a criminal record and is looking for employment must understand their rights. There are instances where an applicant can legally and ethically answer NO on a question about a past offense. This may occur in some of the following situations:

  • In many states, there is no obligation to report arrests not resulting in a conviction or that
    are not currently pending.
  • There are limitations on reporting pre-trial adjudications where the conduct by statute is
    not considered a criminal offense. Some states have pre-trial diversion or delayed entry
    of judgment).
  • There may be restrictions on minor drug offenses. In California for example, an employer
    may not ask about a minor marijuana offence for personal use older then two years.
  • Some states have procedures to judicially “erase” a criminal offense. For example, in
    California, if the matter was a misdemeanor, and a person has gone back to court and
    received a certificate of rehabilitation under Penal Code 1203.4 that is not reportable.

Also keep in mind that most employment applications also contain language that the conviction of a crime will not automatically result in a denial of employment. Automatic disqualification could be a violation of state and federal discrimination laws. However, an employer may deny employment if the employer can establish a business-related reason for the refusal to hire.

Two: See an attorney to explore if you are eligible to get your conviction sealed, expunged, or legally minimized and to make sure you understand your rights.

This is critical. Ask an attorney if the criminal record can be expunged or set aside by going back to court, or whether it is the type of offense that an employer may legally ask about or consider. Each state has different rules, but in all states there is a mechanism for going back to court to try to seal or expunge certain offenses. Make sure you have explored your options. The attorney who represented you, or the local Public Defender or Probation Office should be able to assist.

Three: Seek professional assistance.

There are also organizations that assist past offenders. Some of these organizations have relationships with employers who are willing to give an ex-offender a chance. In addition, these organizations can help a person prepare a resume and practice interview techniques that deals honestly with the past offense, but helps a job applicant put their best foot forward by explaining why they can perform the job and why the employer should hire them. Various re-entry or training program will help ex-offenders develop new skills, or teach job search techniques.

Four: Honesty is the best policy.

In applying for a job, honestly is always the best policy. A criminal matter honestly explained during an interview may have much less negative impact than hiding it and having an employer discover it later. If an employer discovers an applicant was dishonest, the denial of a job could be based upon a lack of honesty, regardless of the nature of the offense. However, a person who has made a mistake and is now motivated to do well at a job may be of great interest to some employers.

Five: Start to rebuild your résumé one step at a time, even if it is not the “perfect” job.

All employers know that the best indicator of future job performance is past job performance. If a person with a criminal record can obtain whatever job they can, hold that job and do well, the next job become much easier. It is the building block approach–one block at a time.

It is critical to seek to rebuild your resume by finding any employment you can to rebuild your resume. You should first seek employment with people you know. Ask everyone that likes you if they know someone who might be willing to hire you. Yes, mention your conviction, but stress your strengths and how much you learned from your past. Someone who knows you personally is more likely than a stranger to give you a chance.

If that does not work, then consider starting at the bottom. A few months of good work in an entry-level position can yield a good reference, which can start your career back upward.

According to career coach Marty Nemko, an entry level-job can be a launch pad and a foot in the door. Do a great job, build up relationships with higher ups, express interest in moving up and before long, you many find your self promoted.

And if you take an entry-level job in order to rebuild your résumé, be sure its one in which people with the power to promote you can observe the quality of your work. Avoid taking a job off-site or in a remote location. If you enjoy working for the organization ask questions and let them know you are interested in moving up.

There are certain industries that are in real need of workers. A fast food job, for example, may not be the job you want, but it is an example of a job that is widely available and allows a person to rebuild their credentials and show what they can do.

Eventually, what a new employer sees is a person with great recommendations and an excellent job history. As the criminal conviction gets older, and the job history become stronger, a person who has made a mistake the past will eventually find that the criminal record is less of an issue. It cannot be stressed enough that the best way to get a great job in the future is to get any job you can right now, and perform well.

Six: Take the long-term view.

This is the most difficult advice to follow. An ex-offender is anxious to get back into the workforce to start making a living. They may also be anxious to have their old life back. Yet, the decks are stacked against a person with a criminal record. The jobs that are available may not be the ones that you want. You may be qualified for something a great deal better. Doors may slam in your face, and you may very well be subject to unfair assumptions. The frustration level could easily build with each disappointment encountered.

What it comes down to is that an ex-offender needs to take the long view and have the faith and patience that the criminal matter will eventually be put behind them. As frustrating as it is, the basic rule still applies-a person must rebuild their résumé over time. And as time goes by, the criminal offense becomes less of a factor in a person’s life. But it is going to take time.

Look at it this way-even if it takes five years to rebuild your resume and get the job you want, five years will still go by. Five year later, what would you rather have-a new life with a good job or still be living in frustration because you couldn’t get what you wanted right away.

Three case studies:

Case Study One: A schoolteacher was convicted of a misdemeanor offense that disqualified her from teaching. The person had dedicated their life to teaching, and suddenly it was no longer an option. She was very depressed and upset that she could no longer do what she loved and knew how to do so well. In order to qualify for a work-furlough program, she obtained a job with a friend in a retail store. It turned out that she had a talent for the new job, and became very successful and happy with it and found a new and satisfying career.

Case Study 2: A medical professional committed an offense that disqualified him from practicing his profession. He could not imagine not being employed in medicine. That had been the most important aspect of his life and defined who he was. It took a longer period of adjustment and he was very depressed and unhappy. He spent a great deal of time being upset about how unfair it was that he could not do what he could best. Out of necessity, he found job in construction. It turn out that he had a talent for this temporary job. He loved the hours and the freedom it gave him. He also realized that the pressures he had put himself under was the root cause of the criminal conduct. A few years later when he would have been eligible to attempt to regain his license, he had decided he enjoyed his new life, and did not want to go back.

Case Study 3: A young woman got involved in the wrong crowd at an early age. She was convicted of drug offenses and spent time in prison. In prison she obtained her GED. Upon release, she got a job in a fast food place. It was not the best job, but she worked hard and made herself the best worker in the place. She was always on time, cared about her job, respected her co-workers and supervisors and showed a real interest in succeeding. Since employers need that kind of worker, she was eventually promoted to the management trainee program. She then turned for assistance to a program that helped women get jobs, and was able to find a well paying administrative job in a growing firm. It took time, but she did everything right.

These case studies have one critical element in common. These individuals could not have been more depressed and frustrated at their situation. But by being patient, taking the long view and believing things could get better, eventually their lives went in new and better directions.


* NOTE: This article is provided as a public service for job seekers who must overcome the burden of a past criminal matter to obtain a job. The author, who is president of an employment screening company, is unable to give job seekers individual advice on job seeking or on any legal matter.

If you have a question about your situation, you are advised to contact a knowledgeable professional. Your local bar association can give you the names of attorneys who may help, and may in fact have a low-cost introductory visit program available. Look in your local Yellow pages under Attorneys for the phone number of the local bar association or lawyer referral program. Job placement professionals can also be of assistance. Many local government and states also offer re-entry and job training programs.