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

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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

765 Responses to “Do Felons Deserve a Second Chance, Obama Thinks So [Reader Post]”

  1. 751

    isthatme

    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.

  2. 752

    Carmen

    @ 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

  3. 753

    Carmen

    @ 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…….

  4. 754

    isthatme

    @ 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.

  5. 755

    Robert

    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???

  6. 756

    Carmen

    @ Isthatme
    I wanted to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart for your response. It seems all I do is cry lately. My mother has always been a tough woman that believed in not feeling sorry for yourself, and there are no excuses for “struggling”. So I try extra hard to follow in her steps. But it often becomes difficult. I do not feel sorry for myself I feel bad for my girls. They are paying for my past. I can relate with the questions you get from your daughter as to why her life is not the same as others. I just do not understand where the kindness and humanity from other human beings has gone….. Your post touched my heart as I can picture you living through the scenarios mentioned. I cannot stress enough the pride you should feel fro your self. Many men could never do what you do.What a good dad. You also seem to have a heart that is still alive, capable of emotion. With all you walk through each day, you have not lost your beliefs and except things in a humble manner. If only more men were in touch with their kindness the world would be awesome . I am in school full time and lately I cannot even get that right. I know eventually God will show me the way until then I continue to pray. I am sending prayers your way and hope you will soon be blessed. You so deserve a break. Thanks so much for lifting my spirits.

  7. 757

    Justice Dixon

    I am 20 years old i got in trouble when i was 15 years old my first time getting in trouble and got certified as an adult i have not been in trouble since and dont plan on it either but my question is how do you expect someone to get out and do the right thing when every opportunity you get the door closes in your face what is a 7to10 yr rule with getting apartments what if that person has nowhere to go then what?? It’s not easy i mean we need help we need someone to stick up for us all of us are not bad ppl just because we made one mistake but i mean some ppl wouldn’t understand unless they took a couple of steps in our shoes !

  8. 759

    FckSociety

    America is a big hypocrisy.. These “law abiding citizens” will be the death of all of us.. I cant stress enough how much I don’t respect Americans anymore.. A bunch of brain dead individuals.. But 50% of these people talking down on Felons will be a felon in the next 5 years.. Felons its time to do things for ourselves.. We don’t need no system, no citizens approval etc.. We got kids, a life as well and just because some of us made mistakes don’t mea we gotta suffer forever.. Fuck these people..

  9. 760

    Chill

    We have a very flawed justice system. Case in point, there are some groups in this country who can break the laws and nothing happens to them. That would be the gay and lesbian group. They get married by judges when there are sodomy laws on the books. If it is still against the law to have sodomy then why are the wizards of law marrying them? Another thing is that abortion is legal and protected, the main reason is that women say it’s their body, yet some women want to make a living using their body called prostitution. These ones are prosecuted and shunned by the public for the rest of their lives. The law says that there are no prostitution allowed because perhaps human trafficking laws, yet prostitution is alive and well called pornograpy. These people are paid for having sex. Sex for money is called prostitution so why do they get a get out of jail free card? You see fellow criminals there are two standards of law, one for them and the ones who are punished for life. The attornies write the laws so we the criminal will have to pay them money the rest of our wretched lives. It’s a stacked decked for those who want to move on. I agree with Dixon that if the system dosen’t want to have repeat offenders then they must do away with permanent records in 5 to 7 years of clean living. Sorry people these people paid their debt, it’s time to bury the hatchet. After all people the illegal immigrants will get their amnesty well ahead of any criminal posting on this site. Pot is illegal Alcohol is not, another double standard. Old politicans and judges love their liquor while condemning pot which is safer. Pot was legal before it was illegal. I’m sorry for venting with all of these back ground checks even for volunteering is driving me crazy. It’s the same as being charged multiple times for the same offense. God bless all of you. Jesus forgives the government won’t.

  10. 761

    Chill

    @isthatme:
    Very wise Isthatme. They know you the person, and not the piece of paper. You are a shining example of why no one in society should give up on anyone. It reminds me of my softball team, I had one lady who no one had faith in. After winning the championship she gained confidence and now she is an all star. We pray before every game.

  11. 762

    Carmen

    @ Chill,
    WELL SAID!! so many most likely think the same thoughts. Sadly, many do not have the strength to post them. You speak the truth. It is so obvious, yet it will always continue. I can see why people move into deserted locations deciding to live off the land, as if they were existing hundreds of years ago. If I had a trusted partner I would get away from the reality of our government ASAP by finding a batch of woods or remote island and just existing, leaving behind the STRESS and EXPECTATIONS of today’s society.

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