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Employment w/a Criminal Record Finding post-incarceration employment can be an almost monumental task. Find tips, job offers and stories from those of us that have experienced it first hand.

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  #1  
Old 04-21-2015, 04:44 AM
Justin630 Justin630 is offline
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Unhappy Illinois jobs for felons?

Hello,
My name is justin. At the age of 17 i was convicted of residential burglary and burglary. I consider myself rehabilitated. I have no excuse for my scummy behavior as (technically an adult) a teenager . I have never had work experience due to this. Does anybody have ANY ideas? I've tried staffing agencies only to be denied, fast food wont hire me, been to many interviews and hired on the spot only to have it revoked when my background check comes back. I dont care how long or hard the hours are or how low the pay is. I need to survive. I absolutely refuse to commit another crime and further worsen the situation. Its gotten so bad to where i was hospitalized for suicide attempts because of it. I went to college for IT, only to find out ill never get hired with my record, so that adds another $15,000 worth of debt to the $0 i posess. Sorry for the long post, im new here and have nowhere else to turn. If anybody knows any good places to check, or ANYTHING, i would love some help here. Ive done my time, but obviously this is a lifelong sentence.
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:33 PM
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Nickel Timer Nickel Timer is offline
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Justin, as you're already finding out, those of us convicted of property crimes have a very steep hill to climb, even long after we've completed our entire sentences. There's a reason over 70% of property crime offenders end up back in prison within 3 years of their release -- we have, bar none, the highest recidivism rates of any other class of offender. No one wants to take a chance hiring a convicted thief, especially when it comes to cash handling or anything to do with running a business. Employers will far more readily give second chances to drug offenders since they can be drug tested, or even sex offenders so long as the job doesn't involve teaching or kids. But convicted thieves? Yeah, we wear the true Scarlet Letters when it comes to trying to find gainful employment once we get out.

All I can tell you is that my burglary convictions from nearly 20 years ago when I was just a hot-blooded teenage youth like yourself, still haunt me to this day and have denied me countless jobs. Employers claim they will only go back 7 years of course, but the reality is, ever since 1995 or so, every single criminal record is easily accessible to any employer willing to pay a few bucks to run a check, and they do take it into consideration.

I wish I had better advice for you, but just like you've already tried, I'm currently going back to school full-time, working towards a degree in healthcare, hoping the field will still be in such demand once I graduate that I'll be able to pay all these student loans off. In the meantime, I'm just treading water, working two dead-end low-paying part-time jobs, one as a hotel night auditor for a small hotel and the other as a peer tutor as part of work-study funding at my community college.

My only real hope at this point is to try to obtain a pardon from the commission of pardons and parole, but those are real long shots, even for non-felonious offenders, and usually requires you to be gainfully employed and an established contributing member of society for quite some time before they will grant such a motion. Kind of a Catch-22. You need your record expunged so you can find a good job, but you can't get your record expunged until you've already found and held down a good job and proven yourself "worthy." Go figure.

Last edited by Nickel Timer; 04-22-2015 at 09:36 PM..
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:53 AM
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Depending on where you are in IL, your job choices/opportunities vary greatly. Cook County is one thing, Jo Daviess County is completely different. Head South in the State, and you're looking at something completely different.

If you have the appropriate bent, it's APRIL. Anyplace outside of Chicago and Peoria are in the midst of plowing and planting. Hit the local farm store and see if there are any short term employment ops in farming.

Then, hit up Job Corps and see if they have anything they can offer you, assuming you're under 26. From there, you might want to look into something not property related. IT is great, but there are a ton of people for every AS and BS level IT job out there. To get to the point where your background doesn't matter, you'd have to go much higher in education. If IT is your passion, that would be an option. But, if IT was just something you did with the idea of getting quick employment, you might want to actually start working towards something that interests you.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:58 AM
yourself yourself is offline
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Oh, and I should throw in, my felon clients have worked in roofing, masonry. Younger people have joined journeyman programs as electricians and plumbers. I've had a few as truck drivers, and one who worked as a vet tech with large animals.

Be glad that 1. you're in IL and your crime did not involve cruelty to animals, 2. you did not get convicted of arson involving farming (light a haystack on fire, really? yes, 17 year olds get bored), 3. you're not registering as a sex offender.

Sucks that 17 is the age of consent in IL, but it's the usual, double edged sword. You get benefit at 17 that you don't get in IA until you're 18, but you stand liable at 17 for shit that you wouldn't until 18 in IA. But then, you could have been bumped to adult court if you were 14-16 for the same crime.
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