Discrimination....isn't That Against the Law??

All our lives are multi-faceted like a gemstone but when we become a felon, we cease to be human.  The system in place is designed to keep us down and contributes to the recidivism rates.

I was convicted in 1996 of trafficking in cannabis by a small town judge in nowhere Alabama.  My first and only offense and he gave me 25 years!  All for 10 pounds of dusty commercial Mexican weed that was seized from my car in an illegal search during a traffic stop for 'failure to dim', a $10.00 ticket.  I served three and got out on the federal mandatory minimum to an apparently endless parole.  My end of sentence is 2021.

Fortunately I have been gainfully employed, paid my taxes and purchased a home.  Reporting regularly, paying my monthly fees, walking the line for the man. 

Now, that has all changed.  My company had to drastically downsize and laid off about 50 of us or go bust.  I reported this to my officer as required and was immediately assigned to the 'job board'.  That means my new job is finding a job.  I am required to be in the street from 8-4:30, Monday thru Friday and have a minimum of six face to face 'interviews' daily.  The prospective employer is supposed to sign a sheet which is a poor copy of a poor copy which was fed through the copier crooked.  Their name phone address etc must be listed as well as the times, in and out.  These requirements are the same for me as they are for the one who was released yesterday.  I get no 'credit for time served' and the ultimate threat is if no suitable job is retained within a reasonable amount of time, 30 days, you will be assigned to work, for free, for the county road crew.  Today is my 34th day of unemployment.

At this point, I am about to pay my mortgage for the 2nd time off a credit card and I do not have the money to run the street in the car or on the bus to secure signatures from people that have no job to give. 

I am in awe of the ineptitude of the system in this circumstance.  The unemployment rate here today was 9.6% and increasing.  I went to a job fair today.  If you discount the ineligibles, police departments, private security firms, National Guard, Phoenix University and several of their ilk, Avon and Mary Kay cosmetics, Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs, there were maybe a half dozen actual employers there, recruiting, not hiring.

As a felon, I have had my application for a position I was actually performing at another employer, tossed on the floor, because  "we don't hire felons".

I have applied and gone through the entire process including background check and been told they couldn't hire me because of the "nature of the offense". 

From my perspective these are examples of discrimination of the first degree.  What is the point of having a system of punishment in place if it never ends??  Ideally, if you break the rules, you pay the price in time and money and you return to 'society' to resume a productive citizens life.  Yeah, and a partridge in a pear tree to you too....

My personal situation is becoming untenable and I do not know where it is going......I am however, holding on by the hair of my chinny chin chin..........

livewench livewench
51-55, F
7 Responses Mar 25, 2009

I am turning 31 in June and I completely understand where you are coming from, I have been fortunate and have found a job but I now struggle with the fact that I am overqualified for the position that I hold. But, because I am a felon I also feel an obligation. I attended college in hopes of fixing my situation. We will now see. I can understand the frustation.

The legal system is becoming more predatory by the day. Things that are rightfully classified as misdemeanors are being recategorized as felonies. The threat of a felony conviction is used to brow beat people, many of whom are innocent, into copping a plea to a misdemeanor which creates a world in which to be accused of a crime is to be convicted of it.<br />
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That being said, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which you could be in possession of 10 pounds of marijuana through no fault of your own. Like it or not, that drug is illegal. Those who supply it are putting their freedom and their reputation at risk. The only winning move in that game is not to play.<br />
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The state is treating you like crap and so is the rest of society, but then you knew (or should have known) that this would be the consequence of being caught before you got involved in the pot business. Your situation, while regrettable, is ultimately of your own choosing.

Hello I know that many of these post are old however I'm seeking individuals of hard work ethics who really are taking the necessary steps to add more to their life. For the one who have stated that they have went to school and have gotten their own business contacy me via WhatRecession@gmail.com

I am a 27 year old Hispanic male in California, and also a convicted felon for illegal gang activities. Recently Ive been looking for a new place to live. Every apartment complex has rejected me because of my background so far. I tried to go to college, and was denied financial aid because of a new law the bars felons like me from getting financial aid, and I have had similar experiences like yours in trying to get a job. So when exactly do we stop paying for our crimes? The tough talkers always say, "you do the crime, you do the time". I've done mine, but it seems as though I must be resigned to a life of glum, and despair. With the system in place, .... what exactly is the incentive to NOT commit more crimes? My PO also says if I don't get a job, my parole will be violated. The unemployment rate is over 10% here, and it seems employers don't want felons like me. I was even rejected by 7-11 specifically because of the nature of my crimes.

In Nowhere, AL!?! Me too...<br />
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I was convicted at 19 and sentenced to 12 years. I am 31 now, have graduated college, and am completely disgusted. I have worked so hard to change my life, yet there seems to be no hope. Is getting out of this state the answer?

For those who have had the misfortune of dealing with this issue our "Justice system" is anything but JUST. And they wonder why prison has a revolving door.<br />
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There are those of us out here that are working very hard to correct it. Stay strong, you will overcome and prevail.

Hi. Thanks so much for your comment on my story. I've read this story, and am again reminded of how unfairly felons are treated. I have friends that are not felons who are unable to find a job. I'm not sure how to encourage you, I just know we can't give up on ourselves. Feel free to pm me if you want to talk.