Help a felon find employment!
July 27, 2006 8:38 AM Subscribe
Advice for a convicted felon trying to find work?
My brother-in-law is trying desperately to find work. He has several, quite unappealing felonies on his record (I don't know the exact charges but they have to do with weapons, burglary or breaking-and-entering, and DWI -- possibly drugs as well, since I know he's been in court-mandated rehab). About two years ago he completed the second of two sentences in county lockup and has been drug- and crime-free since.
This person is 24 years old and is under medical treatment for bipolar disorder and ADD. He is a high school graduate, but has not pursued any vocational training beyond that (this is not a possibility now, either, due to financial constraints and a need to gain employment ASAP to support himself). Previous jobs have included kitchen work in a restaurant, food prep and counter work in a deli/bagel shop, roofing, and warehouse jobs. He has left these jobs due to either conflict with management/coworkers, or a lack of steady hours.
Now, understandably, he's having tremendous difficulty lining up any kind of work. Most employers seem to automatically exclude anyone with a felony conviction (or at least pass him over in favor of applicants without this type of background). He tried the county's job placement office, but due to his criminal record and bipolar disorder, he was classified as "mentally handicapped" and they put him in a group of severely developmentally disabled people and asked him to participate in "tests" such as toddler-level puzzles. This was embarrassing and insulting to him, and the constant rejection from any type of employment opportunities is making him feel like it's going to be impossible to turn his life around.
Surely some options exist...you hear all the time of convicted sex offenders, even murderers, being employed at the time of their latest crime. Ideal jobs would have steady hours (40+ per week), some sort of merit-based advancement opportunity, and limited contact with the public. If it makes a difference, this is in central Maryland (Howard County). Any ideas?