in the United States, the issue of housing and employment upon their release is something of a concern – particularly for the ex-offender themselves. However, there are a number of government funded programs that ex-offenders are able to take advantage of after their release in order to help them with rehabilitation and integration.
In addition to the government funded initiatives, there are also many charities, religious groups and organizations that have their own programs,which are aimed at helping former prison inmates.
Finding employment can be very difficult even at the best of times, and it can be even harder for an ex-offender and it can take quite a long time for it to happen. There are felon-friendly companies out there, however, that could be in a position to help. Companies willing to hire former offenders include:
- Best Western
- Dunkin Donuts
- Domino’s Pizza
- Kraft Foods
- Phillip Morris Co.
A more extensive list can be of felon jobs can be found at http://felonprospects.com/13-best-companies-and-jobs-for-felons/
While positions that may be advertised with these companies may be low paid, they do offer ex-offenders the opportunity to get back onto the employment ladder. Aside from a little financial security, it also gives people their independence back and helps them to better integrate back into society more successfully.
Of course, for every company willing to hire a former offender, there are many more that won’t even consider it – regardless of the reason for imprisonment. That being said, there are employers that may think a little differently if the applicant happens to be bonded. What does that mean? Well, the Federal Bonding Program helps ex-inmates to find employment all over the United States, with help from its sponsor, the U.S. Department of Labor.
The bonding program gives certain assurances and a guarantee to the employer in question. In addition to this, it also encourages the job applicant to be totally honest on the application, resume and in an interview situation.
Assurances provided includes payment for losses which could come from forgery, embezzlement and theft. Ex-offenders that are interested in getting on-board with the program can call the following number, toll free: 1.877.US2.JOBS (1.877.872.5627). You will then be given a number for the State Bonding Coordinator in your state.
Grants and housing
Ex-offenders may also be able to apply for government grants, which can be used to help improve their skills or even find suitable housing. One such grant, the Federal Pell Grant, is an education support tool which ex-offenders can apply for via the link. This grant was not actually created for ex-offenders, but for those that may be struggling financially – ex-felons are not barred from applying, however, and many people have applied successfully after leaving prison.
This grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid at a later date. Of course, this also makes the grant very popular, and gives a little more peace of mind knowing that future repayments are not looming over your head.
With regards to being created explicitly for former inmates, the Second Chance Act (SCA) of 2008 is available. This provides help and skills training opportunities for felons, with a view to helping ex-offenders gain paid employment.
Another useful service, that ex-offenders may be able to benefit from, is called Felon Friendly. This website aims to help ex-felons find all the services they need, including jobs and housing opportunities, listed in one place. If a given ex-offender still isn’t sure where to start, this can be a very good resource.
Of course, it goes without saying that any ex-offender, who is applying for housing assistance, or is about to try and rent a property needs be honest about their conviction. This isn’t just about being honest for the sake of it, rather because it will help prevent issues later on if the renter finds out that the offender lied about their criminal history.
It is always a good idea to take references when looking for somewhere to rent, because this will greatly improve a person’s chances of success.
Seeking help and assistance before leaving prison
Perhaps one of the most proactive things that a current felon can do, is speak to a prison counsellor or chaplain – before they are released, of course. This way, the offender can ask for advice on gaining assistance once released. Suggestions of felon-friendly organizations can be made, and these can then be contacted for further guidance.
In addition to this, if there are courses or skills training inside the prison facility then these can also be taken advantage of as these are also invaluable aids in the rehabilitation process.
The thought of starting again after a spell in prison can be a daunting one, but many ex-offenders have so very successfully. One of the most important things that an ex-felon can do in order to make the process easier, is to learn how and where to ask for help. It may well be a long, and sometimes frustrating journey – but it is one that can be very rewarding in the long run.