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Old 04-29-2009, 10:29 AM   #21
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Of course most people will not hire him... who want's the liability?
That's the crux of the issue. If you have two candidates of equal ability, why hire the one with a felony?
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:31 AM   #22
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That's the crux of the issue. If you have two candidates of equal ability, why hire the one with a felony?
Agreed, but "all else being equal" (i.e. a "tie-breaker") is different than "automatic disqualification." Zero tolerance leaves no room for discretion or common sense.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:38 AM   #23
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Agreed, but "all else being equal" (i.e. a "tie-breaker") is different than "automatic disqualification." Zero tolerance leaves no room for discretion or common sense.
I agree. Then there is human nature - who really wants to take the risk. Should the HR or hiring manager hire a person with a felony and then he does something wrong (even if it is unrelated to the conviction) the HR or hiring manager looks bad.

I've observed this in many hiring situations. People gravitate with what is wrong with a candidate in hiring discussions. When working I tried to start a performance review or hiring decision with the positives first to avoid the negative spiral.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:39 AM   #24
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True.

I guess I'm sensitive to this because my FIL is a convicted felon. His "crime" was trusting his second wife who turned out to be a serial con artist. She started pursuing FIL shortly after his first wife (my wife's mom) passed away a few years ago.
Wow, not only the felony, but having to repay her stolen money. I was reading about the expungement that ratface mentioned, and found there's cases where lawyers can have convictions set aside. This seems like a prime example where that should take place.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:47 AM   #25
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Wow, not only the felony, but having to repay her stolen money. I was reading about the expungement that ratface mentioned, and found there's cases where lawyers can have convictions set aside. This seems like a prime example where that should take place.
Yes, but he's too busy paying back the restitution AND the debts she racked up AND his lawyer's fees to afford more legal fees on top of that. Plus he's 70 now, so re-entry into the job market is less and less a factor.

Basically, nearly half of his after-tax pension and SS is going to pay this stuff back. Doesn't leave much to live on. And that doesn't include the "loan" we had to provide in order to make his plea deal to stay out of jail possible.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:55 AM   #26
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ratface, had no idea expunging was a possibility. I will let him know and suggest he contact a lawyer.
Well, I'm not a Texas lawyer, but if Texas law on expungements is anything like Virginia, DC or New York law on expungement, it would be an extremely tough road to hoe. In general, expungement is available to those who were "youthful offenders" under certain circumstances or who have demonstrated they were innocent of the charges brought against them.

I suspect you just can't go to a Judge and ask for your records to be expunged simply because you don't want the records to be used against you for future employment! Likewise, you probably can't go to the Governor of Texas and ask for a pardon, which would purge the taint of the conviction, simply because someone wants to remove a "disabling" feature of a felony conviction.

Let me get this straight -- and I don't mean to be harsh here -- this guy did the crime and he did the time, and now finds employment difficult as a convicted felon -- what else is new? He also probably can't vote or carry a firearm legally; there might be a process to get most of his civil rights restored in Texas, but decisions to hire him are left to employers, who may or may not cut him some slack.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:17 AM   #27
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I don't disagree, but we're not talking about rape or armed robbery here. We're talking about a relatively victimless crime, and I think a society that will shun someone for for life because of one victimless mistake and one tough life lesson is a society that has its undergarments on way too tight.

I could go on and on about the stupid way society treats drug use as a horrible crime and not as a medical issue, but that would be a hijack. So I'll stop here.
Have you actually ever seen anyone who is addicted to meth? It is horrible, nasty stuff, it ruins the life of the users and everyone around them. Anyone convicted of making or distributing this stuff should be taken out behind the courthouse and shot, IMO. Meth is not a" victimless crime" (not sure how you even quantify such inane terminology, but maybe we need a new thread for that subject...) If this guy was involved in meth (since he served time, it was probably for making or selling it?) he deserves every second of the time he served. Rant over.

As for his career prospects after serving his time, I wish him the best, but he created his own resume when he elected to get involved in meth. The job market is tough enough for honest, law-abiding citizens and illegal immigrants right now, anyone with a felony monkey on their back is going to find it almost impossible. I believe we have a long-time poster on this forum who may have some positive insight to share on the situation.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:45 AM   #28
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If this guy was involved in meth (since he served time, it was probably for making or selling it?) he deserves every second of the time he served. Rant over.
I understand the emotions behind your rant, and don't expect you to know details of the case. Suffice it to say, he was just a user. He was caught in a police bust in which the seller was a member of the police dept. They probably decided to make this a model case against police involvement by locking everyone up. Even his parole officer thought he got an overly harsh sentence.

But it doesn't matter, this is immaterial to my question, which was about how to help someone like this become, once again, a responsible tax-paying member of society, now that he's clean. Sadly, it's a very tough situation, but I think the best suggestion is for him to start his own business.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:54 AM   #29
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It will always be there to an extent but there is a way to minimize it. He has to hire an attorney and get it expunged. A judge will then issue an order that it be removed from his records and that order will be served to local authorities. The expungement has to be done on local, state, and federal levels to be effective and price goes up accordingly. Once expunged he can legally answer the arrest question in the negative. If done correctly the actual records will not show up but the expungement will. The expungement order will be signed by a judge and read something to the extent that on such and such a date the arrest for possesion was expunged under order number 123456 and is effective on 29 april 2009. It's complicated and not all records are eligible. When doing a background most local employers might only search locally and will never find it. The state and federal level will show the expungement which raises the question of what it was for, although it is not legal to ask that question. Working for the government is probably out but I would think he could get by a local employer. IMO it is most effective on the local level and might be worth a few hundred bucks to get it done.
States differ on whether you can do this and what grounds are required.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:57 AM   #30
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Everyone should be able to work if they are able. To exclude someone because of a prior conviction just leads to an underground economy and further crime. He paid his debt, now he needs a chance. I wish that people did not have to disclose crimes except for specific jobs and specific crimes where the risk is high (sex offenders dealing with kids, fraud criminal dealing as bank tellers, that kind of stuff).

My rant over.

He probably has the skills for his own business which likely is the way to go. The Fed has being putting his heart into his ventures and making a go of it.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:24 PM   #31
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Isn't there some new tax provisions to give a couple thousand bucks in tax credits if you hire someone from a "disadvantaged background" or something like that. I'm referring to a federal program here.

From a quick google search of "hire felon tax credit" it looks like Washington State, Philly, and a few other cities/states provide a few thousand in tax credits for hiring ex felons.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:30 PM   #32
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One other idea: The unemployment office (where you go to file unemployment claims). They usually have job placement assistance and maintain job banks. Talk to a jobs counselor and find places that don't place high important on a clean criminal background check.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:31 PM   #33
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From a quick google search of "hire felon tax credit" it looks like Washington State, Philly, and a few other cities/states provide a few thousand in tax credits for hiring ex felons.
That, IMO, is just silly. From a social standpoint it almost makes sense in some ways -- it's in everyone's best interest that they become productive and have a disincentive to reoffend -- but as much as I don't think we should stamp someone "permanently unemployable," I think giving them an advantage over people who've played it straight all their life is a bad idea.

Perhaps shielding employers from some liability related to hiring known felons when it makes sense to do so (like Martha said, no sex offenders around kids, no embezzlers handling money). I think that would remove at least some of the fear that HR and legal departments have about hiring people with a record.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:45 PM   #34
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That, IMO, is just silly. From a social standpoint it almost makes sense in some ways -- it's in everyone's best interest that they become productive and have a disincentive to reoffend -- but as much as I don't think we should stamp someone "permanently unemployable," I think giving them an advantage over people who've played it straight all their life is a bad idea.
I think further study is required. As much as I despise ill thought out government programs with perverse incentives, this one may make sense. Recidivism runs high. Two things that drives people back to the life of crime are (1) nothing better to do/boredom, and (2) need for money/stuff. Jobs, if they could get them, would partially solve 1, and mostly solve 2.

Running criminals through the CJ system and then housing them on the government dime isn't cheap. It is very expensive actually. It would probably be a lot cheaper to just give people a welfare check, a quarter bag of weed and a shopping cart full of 40 oz's every week than it is to house them in medium or max security prison. Although those darn perverse incentives and unintended consequences might taint this program.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:48 PM   #35
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When I was a pre-teen and teen, my family, friends, and school made it very clear to me that committing a felony led to jail time and never being able to get a conventional job again. I find it difficult to believe that anyone would grow up in this day of TV and the internet NOT know that this was the consequence of committing a felony, prior to doing it.

So, I am sure your friend has considered what his plans would be in the event that he was caught. He made a decision, and I don't mean to be overly harsh, but in my opinion he is responsible for the (very predictable) outcome.

I suppose that if I were absolutely determined to become a felon, I would resign myself before the fact to the possibility that I might have to be a maid or some such thing for the rest of my life, likely paid off the record as is done for illegals. Perhaps your friend could do the same as a janitor or gardener. He could mow lawns or be a handyman.
So we make him permanently unemployable after his sentence, then watch him sink into abject poverty, possibly go back to drugs, and live off welfare, Medicaid, charity, back to jail, whatever. Not sure that accomplishes much for him or for society.

It seems to me to be a little more complex than branding every felon as a leper who deserves whatever jobless misfortunes society has to inflict for the next 40 years, especially if he is skilled, has not been violent, has not repeated his offense, etc. I'm not soft on crime and punishment as a rule, but there's got to be someone who gets a second chance, no? And aren't there all different kinds of felony? Would you ban all of them from employment, or just the ones our "leaders" feel are especially egregious?

I understand the reaction but am not sure it is well thought out.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:58 PM   #36
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Martha is right about different states having different conditions. I'm in Illinois a very liberal state and have not seen to many denied.Texas may be a lot more difficult. Expungements have many variables and on occasion can work. I have been in LE for nearly 27 yrs. and had the pleasure of conducting background investigations for many years. You can not get personal on these investigations nor take anything on face value. The investigator being one of the aforementioned variables. Expungements are a legal remedy that may or may not work. The reason not to get personal is best illustrated by an example: It was policy to deny employment based on a single admission of cocaine use on an application. Candidate told the truth. Candidate was denied. I went to testify to the standard. Candidate presented credible evidence that the single incident occured while she was being raped by three men in an abandoned building who threatened to kill her if she refused the coke. She won!
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:02 PM   #37
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It would probably be a lot cheaper to just give people a welfare check, a quarter bag of weed and a shopping cart full of 40 oz's every week than it is to house them in medium or max security prison. Although those darn perverse incentives and unintended consequences might taint this program.
Where do I apply?
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:03 PM   #38
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The reason not to get personal is best illustrated by an example: It was policy to deny employment based on a single admission of cocaine use on an application. Candidate told the truth. Candidate was denied. I went to testify to the standard. Candidate presented credible evidence that the single incident occured while she was being raped by three men in an abandoned building who threatened to kill her if she refused the coke. She won!
This is a perfect example of why "zero tolerance" sucks as a policy. Heck, even if it were a voluntary, short-term youthful indiscretion it's a stupid policy, especially if the person in question had been otherwise completely clean and productive for many years since.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:14 PM   #39
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Where do I apply?
This is so funny. I almost decided to mention you by name along with the welfare check, bag o dope and 40 oz's, but thought discretion was the right way. But yes, this program would be right up your alley. You can have the place right in front of me in that line! Prolly be a long waiting list though...
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:33 PM   #40
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It will always be there to an extent but there is a way to minimize it. He has to hire an attorney and get it expunged.
...
It's complicated and not all records are eligible.
I never knew this. So, is there a list of what can and cannot be expunged? Or is it at the judge's discretion?

A son of a friend committed a robbery when he was 18. Caught, convicted and spent the last 3 years in jail in northern Cali. He will be out soon on probation. Is this expungement something my friend should look into for his son?

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