Q. I'm a 51-year-old white male who has been incarcerated in the Department of Corrections 22 years and a 15-to-life sentence for second-degree murder. I have worked hard at rehabilitating myself and learning new work skills such as plumbing, cabinetmaker, barber, office services and more. Now that I'm getting closer to possibly receiving a parole date, I am reviewing my employment possibilities. Will you please give me your perspective on my predicament, and tell me what you see as my options to seek employment from my vantage point, and to secure a job offer before I am released? The parole board expects this.
Ans. Take a look at www.saferfoundation.org Web site, and click on the About Us tab. It explains the fine work they have done in Chicago with former felons who are looking for jobs. Different states have different services, but this may be a starting place and help you discover what to expect. Safer Foundation also may help you find information about your state agencies. Several companies hire people who have been in prison and are living in halfway houses to work in their warehouses or other entry-level jobs. Churches, religious organizations are also a good source for networking opportunities, especially for someone with as many skills as you have developed. It will probably be a tough struggle, but try and stay pro-active and persistent in this effort.