Providing resources and hope to the rehabilitated.
Hi to all out there who really want to change their lives:
When you or a loved one is released from prison, so the the sheriff’s department and request a criminal background check on yourself: here’s why:
My son was recently released from prison and is having difficulty finding a job, even though he’s gone through technical school since getting out & now has a certified trade. One thing he has had some confusion over is how to list his felonies. The first time he was arrested he was 17 (in GA a legal adult) and charged with burglary. He’d never been in trouble before & was only the car driver, but since GA has no accessory law, he was equally guilty. He pled guilty under the first offender law & received several months in a “boot camp” & 5 years probation. His first offender was listed as unsatisfactory due to some traffic tickets late in his probation. Twelve years later he got in trouble again – took some wire from a building site – & was again charged with a felony. He served 20 months (entered voluntary drug rehab program first) & has now been out 2 years. During this time he has completed a welding certification progam & has been heavily involved in NA.
Now that he is actively job hunting he is running into what most felons out there find. He can’t pass a criminal background check. He got some bad information about the length of time felonies stay on the background check & thought the first arrest would no longer show up (in GA any arrest shows up forever, even if charges are later dropped) – so he’s only been putting down one felony.
Recently I sent him down to the local sheriff’s department to request a background check on himself – only cost $7.50 – and the results were horrifying to saw the least. He’s only been arrested twice (I know, 2 times too many) but the background check was 5 pages long & extremely confusing. At the teenage arrest, he was charged with about 5 different things, on 2 different days; even though all but 1 charge was dropped, all the charges stay on the record. Anyway everything looked much worse that it actually was.
His parole officer suggested doing a summary of his background in MSWord & condensing everything down to 1 page; we did this & included a paragraph at the end about what he’s done to straighten out his life. The parole officer thought it looked good, so not he includes this with every job application he completes. It also makes it easier to have this to attach when filling out the forms, so that you can say “see attached” when you get to the part about felonies.
So far this has not landed him a job (we’ve just done this in the past week), but we have hopes. If he’d had a clear idea of exactly what his criminal background check looked like earlier he might have had a job by now. As it is, we now know that it just looked like he was lying about his background for the couple of interviews he managed to get.
Get the criminal background check on yourself, do the summary & don’t lie, then attached it to all your applications. If called for an interview, take your copy of the background check & offer to let them see it if asked about your crimes.
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