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Showing posts with label Eric Mayo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eric Mayo. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Jobs for Felons: Give former felons a chance to work

J.T. Weis - The Detroit News

Jobs for Felons: Give former felons a chance to work
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At Abcor Industries we live out the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. This is driven by my faith, which teaches that all people are of equal value, redeemable and entitled to the dignity that God intended when he created us.

After years of working in the corporate world, my desire to live a more meaningful existence continued to grow. With that in mind, entrepreneurship was the path to pursue this goal and I acquired Abcor Industries in Holland, Michigan.

Abcor has the technology for powder coating wood and is leading the drive for innovating higher performing wood materials.

Owning Abcor allows us the freedom to make decisions which improve people’s lives and drive an enterprise that contributes to the betterment of the planet. Additionally, we support important nonprofit entities, institutions and schools.

As a senior manager at publicly traded companies, I wasn’t able to deploy a felon hiring strategy — or consider anyone with a criminal history. With Abcor, we are breaking the stigmas and helping change people’s lives.

More than half of our production employees have been convicted of felonies and have served long sentences, hence repaying their debt to society. My intention is to continue to do everything possible to ensure they are productive members of a dynamic entrepreneurial company.

Productive employment is the leading force in their personal mission to build a new successful life as a responsible tax paying citizen. Productive employment is the leading factor in reducing recidivism. We are an important component of their life recovery. They are a vital part of our success.

Recently, I was invited to a forum on the subject of hiring re-entering citizens. At first, it was very encouraging to see so many human resource executives interested and open to the practice. However, each of the executives had a common theme of being only interested in “light felony” applicants. This was clearly driven by a risk mitigation approach.

Toward the end of the forum, they asked me to opine on their approach. They were surprised by my response that short sentence “light felony” applicants had a higher fallout rate and were more difficult to manage. Those who have served the longer sentences are very motivated, highly loyal and committed to the mission.

Currently, we at Abcor and other employers are urging the Legislature to pass bills currently before the state House Law and Justice Committee that would remove some barriers to employment and require objective reasons for denying parole to low-risk prisoners.

Right now, there are too many who remain incarcerated and present the lowest risk to public safety. The law requires that denying parole to people who present the lowest risk to public safety can only be based on objective reasonings. Subjective parole denial is immoral, and it’s wrong. Not only is it counter to our values, it also wastes millions of taxpayer dollars annually on keeping these low-risk prisoners locked up.

There remains much more the state of Michigan can do to help. It should continue to expand vocational training during incarceration, implement laws and financial benefits for bridging organizations that help the released find employment, housing and transportation. In my view, the Department of Corrections could and should become a powerful force by investing in these systems and have a positive impact on workforce development.

Every year, nearly 10,000 people return from prison to Michigan communities. Many are unable to find employment due to their criminal records, even though many employers face a shortage of available workers. There exists a significant opportunity to do better.

Those in position to do so, should construct systems, laws and enterprises to set the groundwork for personal recovery. There is a major win-win for society available to us all and we need to act upon it.

J.T. Weis is the owner of Abcor Industries in Holland, Michigan.

Companies that hire Felons

Jobs for Felons: The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons

companies that hire felons

Jobs for Felons: Give former felons a chance to work

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Eric Mayo

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Ex-offenders, Felons, Expungement and Jobs

Ex-offenders, Felons, Expungement and Jobs

Ex-offenders, Felons, Expungement and Jobs
I get a lot of questions from ex-offenders and felons regarding expungement.  It is a common belief that getting an expungement is the answer to their employment woes.  Some believe that if they can only get one, they can have their criminal record erased and they can get jobs to move on with their
Ex-offenders, Felons, Expungement and Jobs lives.  There are lawyers who make lots of money from felons and their families hoping to have some miracle worked and their records will gone forever.  Since most employers do background checks, having a clean record will make getting a job easier.  Having certain convictions on your record may be the difference between getting hired for a job or not.  Lets explore some common myths and uncover the facts about expungement.

Myth #1:  Criminal Records are Automatically Erased After a Certain Number of Years

I am not aware of any state that erases records after automatically.  In fact no records are ever removed, they may be made inaccessible to the public.  There must be legal action taken if there any sealing of records.  There is an application process that completed for any type of action to be considered.  Nothing happens automatically.

Myth #2:  Any Records can be Expunged

Expungement is a legal process that not available in all states.  These processes will vary from state to state as to which records can be sealed or expunged.  For example, in NJ where I am, only one felony can be expunged and the waiting period is ten years from the completion of the sentence.  In some states no records can expunged and in others only arrests not convictions can be sealed.

Myth #3:  An Attorney is not Needed 

Never attempt any legal procedure by yourself.  To be certain that any legal  process is done properly, You should always seek the help of a qualified  professional with experience in this field.

Myth #4:  Federal Convictions can be Expunged

Federal convictions can in no way shape or form be expunged or sealed.  The only action that can be taken is to seek a presidential pardon and very few are granted. 

Myth #5:  Expungement Erases Criminal Records

With expungement, sealing or any other process, records will never be erased or destroyed.  Even though certain records will be hidden from the public, they will always be visible to the court system, government agencies and law enforcement.

Ex-offenders, Felons, Expungement and Jobs
This a brief list of common myths associated with the the expungement or sealing of recordsBear in mind that these processes are not available in every state.  Every state has its own statutes regarding the treatment of criminal records.  If you are interested in finding out if you are a candidate for expungement, I suggest speaking to an attorney about availability in your state.  I also suggest that you contact your local legal aid office where you may qualify for free advice about this or even help getting it done.  Most legal aid offices are staffed by young attorneys who are anxious to help and gain valuable experience.  To find your local legal aid office, check your telephone directory or contact the bar association in your state.

Jobs for Felons: Understanding How Employers Analyze Your Records

Jobs for Felons: Expungement - A Way to Erase Your Criminal Record

Jobs for Felons: Criminal Record Expungement & Federal Pardons 

companies that hire felons

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Ex-offenders, Felons, Expungement and Jobs

Eric Mayo

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Jobs that hire Sex Offenders

Jobs that hire Sex Offenders

Jobs that hire Sex Offenders
Just the thought of the term "Sex Offender" brings to mind the worst crimes imaginable.  There are varying degrees of sex-offenses but they are all looked at by the average person as the worst case.  For example, I had a student many years ago who was 15 at the time.  He had gotten his fourteen year old girlfriend pregnant.  The girl's family decided to terminate the pregnancy.  The boy's DNA was tested against the fetal tissue and he was arrested, convicted and be came what is known as a sex offender.  In my state, this kid has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.  By being registered, he has to report to the state police his address, place of employment and must be photographed every year for the state sex offender registry which includes him on a website for the world to see.  For the rest of his life, he will be listed on this website as having sex with an underage female regardless of the circumstance.

Jobs that hire Sex Offenders

Often the same reaction that the sex-offender gets from the public at large is the same reaction that the average employers have.  So what a person with a sex offense do to earn a living?  I have to admit, the students that post the biggest challenge in terms of getting hired are the convicted sex offenders.  The very first suggestion I make is to begin to look for jobs that have limited contact with other people.  Not that they are apt to harm others but employers may be more willing to hire someone with a sex offense who would be in no way be a liability.

I have been helping ex-offenders and felons get jobs for many years and in my experience, sex offenders are more like likely to get hired in the following areas:



Building Trades

Animal Shelters

Temporary Agencies

Janitorial Services

Automotive Services



As I often suggest to all ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs, that smaller businesses are more likely to hire those with criminal records.  Often you will get a chance to speak directly with the business owner or the person who makes hiring decisions.

When applying to small businesses, you will find that they use generic applications that you may find at your local office supply store.  On these applications, you may find the standard question "Have you been convicted of a crime.............?"  I commonly urge sex offenders to leave the question blank.  Hopefully, the person who gets the application will overlook this and you can get an interview.  If the question comes up on the interview, don't spend a lot of time answering or explaining.  Offer a brief explanation that may begin with something like this, "I'm glad you asked because I want you to feel comfortable about hiring me..........."

You may also want to go check with your local United Way office.  The United Way works with many agencies that assists people with all types of situations.  Your local office may have resources or contacts to resources that can assist someone in your situation.

Another option is to speak to your parole or probation officer.  The PO may know of employers who have hired registered sex offenders. 

Finding a job as a sex offender will not be easy but there are employers who are willing to give you a chance.  Your challenge is to find them.

Best of luck.

Jobs for Felons: Know your Right Regarding Background Checks

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Where can Ex-offenders Find Jobs

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Ten Steps to Getting a Job with a Criminal Record

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Jobs that hire Sex Offenders

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Meet Larry, an ex-offender who got a second chance thanks to a good law

Meet Larry, an ex-offender who got a second chance thanks to a good law
Last year, I wrote a highly critical opinion piece for the Sun-Times about Gov. Bruce Rauner after learning that he had denied clemency for a client of mine.

Given Rauner’s extreme reluctance to grant clemency to ex-offenders, even to those like my client who had gone on to live honest and productive lives for many years, I questioned why anybody would bother to file the petition.

Though I couldn’t  know it at the time, however, that same governor soon would lay the groundwork for my client to earn a second chance. In August 2017, Rauner signed House Bill 2373 into law. This legislation resulted in a significant expansion of the kinds of criminal records a judge can decide to seal from public view.

Last month, as a result of that law, a judge granted my client’s petition to seal his record, closing the book on my client’s addiction-fueled criminal conduct, which began when he was 17 and ended when he was 31.  Today, he is 51.

My client’s story, which he has given me permission to tell as long as I don’t use his real name, reminds us that people who make bad decisions as teens and young adults still can grow into law-abiding, productive members of society. If we don’t start believing in our human capacity to change — to learn from our mistakes — we will fail to see the potential in many of our fellow, returning citizens.

My client, Larry, grew up in Chicago with an alcoholic father. His mother managed apartment buildings. Neither of his parents graduated from high school. Larry himself struggled in school, and was diagnosed with dyslexia in the fifth grade. Once assigned to special ed classes, he was teased and bullied relentlessly.

The summer before Larry entered high school, he started drinking beer. By his freshman year, he was smoking weed and using cocaine. He dropped out of school after his sophomore year. A year later, he was arrested for the first time.

He was charged with felony burglary and sentenced to probation.

In no time at all, Larry had gone from high school dropout to convicted felon. His future did not bode well. It is estimated that more than 70 percent of the men and women in United States prisons did not graduate from high school.

Larry’s next arrest, for residential burglary, occurred while he was still on probation. He was sentenced to prison – the first of two prison stints he would serve before turning 20. Larry’s preferred choice of crime? Breaking into cars, though he wasn’t particularly good at it. He was usually drunk or high when arrested.

In 1990, Larry picked up his fourth — and final — felony conviction. He was spared prison, though, sentenced instead to an intensive, in-patient drug treatment.

Larry struggled with his sobriety for another 10 years. But a health scare in 2000 finally convinced him to stop drinking and drugging.

Today, Larry takes his sobriety seriously. He has been sober for nearly 18 years. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings three times a week.

A couple of years ago, he met his wife at an AA meeting. With her encouragement and support, he started meeting with a literacy tutor. At the time, his reading comprehension was that of a second grader. Today, he can read at a fifth-grade level.

So there you have it: Larry is sober. He can read a bit better. And he always manages to work for a living, despite his significant educational deficits. The jobs he has found, such as valet parking attendant, don’t pay well, but they are honorable and he has gotten by.

I met Larry and his wife in 2015 and filed his clemency petition in 2016. While the petition was pending, Larry was selected to be a participant in the CTA’s Second Chance Program, cleaning buses and rail cars. Recently, he completed his second full year in the program.

Earlier this year, shortly before a judge granted his petition to seal his criminal record — made possible by the law Rauner signed — Larry learned that his name has been added to the CTA’s hire list.

Over the years, Larry has learned not to give up on himself. And today, he says at age 51, he feels like a “different man.”

He’s a man of few words, but on the day after the judge granted his petition, he called me to say thanks.

How did he feel?

“Really, really good,” Larry said with a chuckle. “Like I never got in trouble before, though I know I did.”

Ina R. Silvergleid is a Chicago attorney and owner of A Bridge Forward LLC. She specializes in helping people with a criminal background eliminate barriers to employment, professional licensing and housing.

Companies that hire Felons

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Eric Mayo

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