28 Jan

Do Felons Deserve a Second Chance, Obama Thinks So [Reader Post]

                                       

Should convicted felons be given a second chance? Barack Obama thinks so, and he thinks the tax payers should have to foot the bill. He made his view on this issue more than evident during a town hall meeting in Elyria, Ohio on January 22nd. Here is a excerpt from this Ohio town hall meeting, where a 29 year old felon who has never had a job in his life asks Obama if he will help felons get a job.

Jerome the felon asks Obama:

“I’m 29 years old, and I’ve never had a job in my life. I went to jail when I was younger. It’s like hard to get a job as a felon. Is this — any programs that hire people with felonies like something that — because it’s sad, it’s like — 29 years old, I’m 29.”

Obama Answers Jerome:

“Look, I’m proud of the fact that you’re bringing this up because there are people who’ve made mistakes, particularly when they’re young, and it is in all of our interests to help them redeem themselves and then get on a straight path. Now, I don’t blame employers obviously for being nervous about hiring somebody who has a record. It’s natural if they’ve got a lot of applicants for every single job that that’s a question that they’d have in their minds. On the other hand, I think one of the great things about America is we give people second chances.

And so what we’ve tried to do — and I want to say, this has been a bipartisan effort — when I was in the Senate, working with Sam Brownback; my Vice President, Joe Biden — passing a Second Chance Act that helps to fund programs that help the reintegration of ex-felons.

It’s smart for us to do. You know, sometimes people say, well, that’s just coddling people. No; you reduce the recidivism rate, they pay taxes, it ends up being smart for taxpayers to do.”

Shame on Jerome, if he really wanted a job he could get one. He is playing the victim card. In reality he is only a victim of his own bad decisions. Taxpayers already pay for convicts to be in prison, now Obama wants us to pay to get them a job? Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone(well, almost everyone) deserves a second chance, but it is not the responsibility of everyone else to provide that second chance.

Now before you start sending me nasty emails saying “you are stupid, and you just don’t understand how hard it is for felons to get a job.” Please allow me to stray from the beaten path for a moment and tell you a bit about my own experience.

I am a convicted felon. Five felonies to be exact. I spent the later part of my teenage years (15-19 years old) as a drug addict. Between ages 18 – 19, I lived out of the back of an Oldsmobile, and skipped around from job to job (i kept getting fired for some odd reason, hmm) to raise money for my heroin habit. I continued this pattern of living until I was finally arrested, charged with 9 felonies, convicted of 5 felonies, and sentenced to 1 year and 2 months in prison. One day, as I was sitting in my cell, I thought to myself, “this isn’t the life I want. I want something better, and I’m going to get.” So I made a plan for what I was going to do when I got out, and I decided to use my time in there wisely by educating myself. I started studying college algebra, then moved on to calculus and finally computer science. I also applied for college while I was in prison, so I could attend as soon as I got out. My release day came, and guess what, I went out and got a job flipping burgers the next day.

I worked the early shift at my new job . Public buses didn’t run that early in the morning(in VA, if you receive a felony conviction you lose your license), so I walked to work, 5 miles, every morning. When my shift was over, I hoped on a bus, and went to the local community college to take a couple of classes. When I got out of class the buses weren’t running so I walked home, 4 miles, every night. This process repeated everyday for 9 months until I finally saved up enough money to pay off all of my court costs, and go through all of the red tape required to get my license back. When I finally got my license and my car back, I went out searching for a new, better job. I found 2 jobs. Who would have thought that a convict could get 2 jobs (Jerome couldn’t seem to find 1 in 29 years). I met a wonderful girl at one of these jobs, and we eventually got hitched! Fast forward 4 years and I am happily married, the proud owner of a brand new home, 6.5 years sober, have a good job, and I am almost done with a bachelors degree in computer science (I pay my own way through school, so I only take as many classes as I can afford).

I told you this story to tell you this. I know it is hard to get a job if you are a felon. I do understand. However, if you are a felon, you are not a victim of society, you are a victim of your actions. It is not the responsibility of tax payers to provide you with a second, it is your responsibility. In the United States there are infinite possibilities for a second chance, but you have to go out and get it. It will not come to you. Don’t let your criminal record hold you back, use it as a lesson in life. If you work hard, pursue your dreams, and strive to be a good citizen, good things will happen. That is the beauty of liberty and freedom, you have every opportunity to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get on the right track in life. How could you not love a country that has allowed a drug addicted, homeless convict to become a sober, homeowner, with a beautiful wife, and lives the American dream everyday. God Bless America!

Crossposted from Liberty and Pride

This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Law Enforcement. Bookmark the permalink. Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 9:19 am
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757 Responses to Do Felons Deserve a Second Chance, Obama Thinks So [Reader Post]

  1. Chill says: 751

    The system wants criminals not to be repeat offenders. The system wants people to work and pay taxes. Yet the powers to be can’t understand why there are repeat offenders. If you want real criminal reform then do away with criminal records if someone lives crime free after five years. You paid your fine, you spent time in jail. Why keep on bringing up someones past if they themselves want to move on. Let’s start there and see how these people who made one small mistake overcome this roadblock, and become productive citizens. If the system wants to give illegals amnesty, then why not American Citizens? You know compassion goes a long way.

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  2. isthatme says: 752

    @Chill

    Great talking points.

    This site is probably a good starting point for a change.org petition, which is what ‘we’ on this website should be doing. Anyone in? The 5 year timeline sounds reasonable, though I would leave out the argument with illegals and focus on a solution and the fact that many people just want to move on.

    Chill, please read the “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. It will only take 5 minutes or so. What the kid does in the story, needs to be done in this situation.

    Would you be willing to contribute in starting this thing up? You seem pretty level-headed (which is needed -vs- flying off the handle with anger at the situation)

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  3. isthatme says: 753

    Ironically businesses are breaking the law all the time, which makes them criminals, however it’s hard to prove at times. This is why.

    “You can’t automatically throw away the application from someone with a criminal record just because of their criminal record,” Rosen said.

    He said the law mandates that employers learn more about the criminal conviction to determine if it would have an impact on the job and in the workplace.

    Attorney Mark Briggs of the Arizona-based Briggs Law Group said the new law forces employers to have a clear connection for why someone’s criminal record makes them unfit for the job they are applying for.

    One change to push for, to make sure businesses follow the law is… background checks can only be conducted after a business is intent on hiring the individual. Then, when the background check reveals a record, if the employer doesn’t want to hire the individual, the employer would have to show how the individuals past puts them in a position to harm the business, despite the company’s internal controls, which should already be in place.

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  4. Carmen says: 754

    @ isthatme,
    Good point. You are right, me being a “good” person is irrelevant I had never looked at it that way. I guess what I meant saying I am a good person is , I do not harm or take from others, I go out of my way (often too much) to help others, and always give people the benefit of the doubt . I make an effort to not listen to gossip of others (of course I did in the past) because I know just how damaging gossip can be to ones life. As you stated these qualities or factors matter none to a potential employer. After reading your post I will now tweak my resume. Thank you for your input. Crazy how a random post from a person I do not know can help so much. I work hard on not feeling sorry for myself. And honestly I do not feel sorry for myself only my daughter. Christmas coming is giving me major anxiety……. But I am so proud of the daughter I have because she has learned from my issues and makes me proud to be her mom each day.
    Thanks again

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  5. Carmen says: 755

    @ Chill, I totally agree with your points and wish most others would to. There are so many felons I have met that end up living their entire lives as a criminal because of being in situations such as mine. When a person is backed in a corner, such as feeding their child with no income. Many will do what they must even if it is illegal. So because society will not forgive or forget a person that was caught, in the long run society helps to push the felon back into the life of crime. It is just sad and ridiculous…….

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  6. isthatme says: 756

    @ Carmen, just know you’re not alone. I’m basically a single dad, have a 4 year old boy and 8 year old daughter and I fortunately make $500 a month cleaning a church, just enough to be broke after paying for gas, phone, and car insurance. I am also a full-time college student, pick up my son at 12 pm everyday from VPK, then my daughter at 3 pm. I cook, clean, do laundry, doctor appointments, do my homework and help with theirs and the most annoying part is every week the school sends home papers asking for money, for this and for that.

    My daughter used to ask why all the other kids have parties with bounce houses and always going on vacation. I had to be straight-up with her and tell her I used to be a fool!. The change for me came in my life 3 years ago while sitting on my recliner, which is the day that I realized exactly how much I realized how much of a fool I was and the part I played in all the chaos in my life.

    The beautiful part is (and I type this with tears) that’s when God’s word came to mind “There is none righteous. Not even One.” Why was I surprised that I was a fool? That’s why Jesus died, right?. He died for the bad person! Jesus said “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Some people at the church know my criminal record, yet they hand me their house keys to feed their dogs while on vacation. They know me the person. Not the (sheet of paper) saying I’m a convict.

    The world will throw you and everyone else to the wolves, the Lord will not, if ‘we/you’ call on him, even if we only receive endurance to keep going through these hard times, there is a special kind of joy, Everlasting, between you and him, may that love grow and endure forever with you and your daughter. Amen.

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  7. Robert says: 757

    How can a person that has never been a felon think it is easy to get a job. I’m also a felon and do have a job but it’s not enough pay to survive and take care of my family I’ve been searching every evening for the past 3 months for a job. I’ve been denied of countless jobs no good paying company will hire me. How are we suppose to better ourselves if we are not given the chance to do so???

    ReplyReply

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