Convicted Felon: I Am So Much More

red spacer

convicted felon

I’m a convicted felon, there is no way around that. I admit what I am. On paper I’m just a convicted felon. A risky hire due to a felony conviction. It doesn’t matter if I have a conviction from a year ago or 10 years ago most of the time. To most people, I’m just a convicted felon. What a lot of people do not see is that I’m so much more than just that. For starters, I feel that I’m a somewhat successful entrepreneur. I guess I would be a successful ex-offender, but I am not sure how to judge that. Below I have wrote a brief overview of my life. It is somewhat brief, but it will hopefully give you an idea of who I am. It might also give you an idea of why I created this website. I’m in the process of writing a more complete version of my story.

Here is a little bit of background about me. When I was 17 years old I started doing drugs. By the age of 20 I was so far into my addiction that death seemed like the only reasonable outcome. I was already a convicted felon at the age of 20. I had been arrested so many times, I was homeless, and no one wanted anything to do with me. My family was basically just waiting for a phone call from the police to let them know that I was dead. Luckily for everyone involved, this phone call never came.

January 4th, 2006. I was arrested in a stolen car. I really wasn’t mad about being caught. At this point my status as a convicted felon did not bother me. I was not worried about how my record would impact the rest of my life. But I walked into county jail at a height of 6″3 weighing 135 pounds. I was a skeleton. I was beaten down, destroyed, and needed to rest. My first few weeks I wanted nothing more than to just get out of jail and go get high again. This wasn’t an option. Everything I had done since I started in my addiction had finally caught up to me, and I was going to go to state prison for a while. This, honestly, was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I stayed clean my entire time in state prison, even tho a lot of people around me didn’t. This honestly reinforced the conviction that I wanted to stay clean at this point. Seeing people like that. It’s a lot different to see an addict do everything in his power to get high when you’re sober. Outside looking in sort of thing. Before my prison term was up I was transferred to a community re-entry program. This program changed my life. The staff was actually supportive of the convicted felons that lived there. I had been in other programs where staff treated convicted felons like garbage. This facility was not like that at all. I was there for over a year, living in Camden NJ. I stayed clean here too, even tho I lived in one of the most drug-infested areas in the country. I will say one thing about Camden NJ though. It was one of the easiest places to find work as a convicted felon.

After I got out I was able to move out of state and “start over” in Ohio. At this point I had 3 years clean, my family had accepted me back, and I had a new attitude on life. I was going to go out to Ohio, get a job, and pay my way back through school.

And then I started looking for a job….

It’s amazing how quickly you get disqualified from jobs just by checking that little box. At first it seemed like no one wanted to take a chance on a convicted felon. Anyone that has a criminal record knows exactly what I’m talking about. I applied for around 80 jobs in my first month. This was hard for me to do, as I no longer had a license, and I certainly didn’t have a car. Plus to top it off, I moved to one of the more rural areas in Southwestern Ohio. I did, eventually, manage to get a few interviews. Most of these jobs were fast food, but it was something. I needed money to start paying my fines off, and save up for a car.

I did eventually get hired at Wendy’s. It took about a month of searching for jobs to actually find one. And this would be what I would consider a “bottom-of-the-barrel” job. But you have to start somewhere, right? I worked here for a while, but have found that I can make a lot more money without smelling like french fries. I’ve managed to utilize my skills with people to propel me into an entirely new field of work that I can support myself on quite well.

I’m now going to school for Addictions Studies. When I’m done with this, I’ll hopefully be able to find work in the Substance Abuse Counseling field. I figure that my criminal record is something I could almost put on a resume for a job like that. I’m lucky that with my current job, I can pay for school. I can also pay for my truck and some other bills.

I started this blog in an attempt to help other ex-offenders/convicted felons who were having the same types of re-integration problems that I had, and still do have. I hope that the information on this site will help people. Best of luck in your journey.

An update as of 10/21/2013: Life is amazing now, I really couldn’t be happier. I’m engaged to a beautiful woman, we have two lazy dogs, and we bought a house! My background does, even after 7 years, come into play with some business prospects, but it’s just something I’ve learned how to deal with and move forward. I’m looking into forming a non-profit organization to help a very under represented demographic – The Convicted Felon. I’ll write more information on this organization down the road. Here is a quick list of the things I would like to do with this organization.

A) Reentry services for people getting out of prison or jail. This includes job placement, job readiness, housing, state assistance, and continuing education. Eventually I would like to start a scholarship fund for ex-offenders to help them continue their education.

B) Support programs for people who’s loved one is incarcerated or may be getting out soon. I would like to create something that prepares others for challenges ex-offenders face when being released. I think this would be very beneficial, as a lot of people don’t know how to deal with a recently released ex-offender.

C) This sort of goes with the reentry services, but I would like to have working relationships with local employers. The idea for this is to be able to help with job placement as quickly as possible. This, at first, would be a local organization. It would only serve Clermont, Hamilton, and Brown counties in Ohio.

Thanks so much for giving this a read. Remember that just because someone views you as a convicted felon does not mean that is all you are. You are so much more than that. I am here to help in any way I can with assisting you. Please let me know how I can help and I will do the best I can.

This page was last updated 8/25/2016

Comments 58

  1. Thanks man, I’m 20 years old going threw the same thing. I was recently released from prison and want to start over, so I moved from Florida to Tennessee. They aren’t quick to hire a felon around here, but your story gave me some hope thanks. Get back at me if you see this would love some help to get thru this long road ahead of me.

  2. Great to hear from others that understand. I am trying so hard to be successful again after becoming a convicted felon. I have had my career taken away and my dignity but I am striving to stay clean and a productive member of society. A lot of people do not understand how hard it is after a felony conviction to continue life. You feel as though at any moment you can just slip up and end up in prison with no hope. We need to come together as a group and those of us that make it out need to educate and help others like us that have struggled.

  3. Thank you for sharing. Thank God I owned my own business so I had something to come back to. My sentence was eventually vacated but the stigma still remains. I try to hire convicted felons when I can to give them a second chance. It is possible for people to change. Would like to stay connected. Please email me.

  4. Hi! I am also a person with a felony. I started using meth when I was 21 with an abusive ex-boyfriend who lead me into a life of crime. I eventually went to federal prison. While we were committing crimes, he was using my last name as an alias because he owed child support. When the FBI started looking for us, he realized they didn’t know who he was. He stole everything of value from our apartment, changed his number, and left while I was sleeping one night. Wake up call for sure. I decided to turn myself in and accept responsibility for what I’d done. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to to. At a certain point I was looking at 8-10 years in federal prison with a clean record. But because I did the right thing, I think the universe really worked in my favor. I had a really hard time finding employment when I got out. There were certain fast-food and grocery stores that wouldn’t even interview me with a non-violent felony conviction. I had a Bachelor’s degree too! Anyway, long story short, I finally found a great job as a retail manager with a great local company. I am pursing my Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling, and I was invited by my prosecutor to work in collaboration with the US Attorney on an Obama sponsored initiative called Smart on Crime. You should look it up. They have their hands in a lot of different projects. But one of their goals is prison reentry. I am a social justice advocate. I speak on reentry panels…do speeches at university’s and talk to employers on the importance on giving people second chances. People like us are not entitled. We just need a hand up…it’s not a hand out. We need help in the rehabilitation process. The real work begins after prison. When society says we owe a debt, and we pay it in a sentence. Then we get out and cannot get hired…what kind of message are we sending people? Your punishment is insufficient? I don’t know. It’s discouraging. There have been times where I would have rather gone back. But anyway, congrats to you for becoming a wealth creator in society. Because of our struggles, we can help others. I intend on utilizing my degree to start a practice and open a reentry program next year. Please contact me if you have any thoughts!

  5. I served 17 years in prison, from 1988 – 2005. I paroled to a halfway house for 1 year, then ISP-Intensive Supervised Parole; Ankle Monitor for 1 year, then regular Parole for 2 years, all the while holing down a full-time job and getting my ass back into college to earn a Bachelors Degree in Counseling & Mental Health and a Chemical Addictions Counselor State Certification/License. I discharged in Sept. 2009 and I have been working in the fields of education & opportunities that welcome me into the employment pool with open arms. I will always have a job wherever I go because I’ve lined myself up in the right filed of employment where I help adults and youths who come from the same places that I once was at. It is now Sept. 19, 2017 and I have not had any unlawful violations since my release or since the date of my original offenses. I knew the transition back into society would be difficult but that is simply a part of life. Learning how to overcome barriers is what I have learned how to do best, and that is the reason I have become successful.

  6. I own 3 business a motorcycle shop a star certified smog shop and an automotive shop. My husband and I have been looking for another employee so he started checking out the local school. After a couple times waiting and watching he found a guy that he was interested in. He approached him a asked what he was studying the guy said smog license and ASE certification. My husband asked do you what a job. The guy was shocked and he told my husband that he’s a convicted felon. My husband said did I ask you if you’re a convicted felon and the guy said no. My husband asked again do you want a job. Well he sure did. This employee has been working for us going on 2yrs. He has keys to all three shops and we couldn’t ask for a better employee. We found out that he had been looking for a job for over a year but no one would hire him. People need to know that your past doesn’t determine your future. We all have a past. We are the lucky ones because we have his awesome man who is also our family.

  7. A family member is a convicted felon and this has impacted his life in a monumental way for the last nine years. Every day is a challenge. He worries people will find out, worries about getting hired, going to school, etc. He knows when people find out, they judge him and development die he’s a bad person.

    We don’t live in Ohio, but I think what you have accomplished is wonderful. I’m so happy to hear that life is great for you. What you intend to do for other ex-offenders will be life-changing for them. Good luck to you, and thank you for trying to better the lives of others. People forget, we all make mistakes, and for most of us, we just didn’t get caught. I don’t know anyone who’s perfect. Everyone needs help and someone who believes in them. Those that meet you will be very lucky.

  8. We need more people like you in the world. We need to come together as a whole to make programs like the ones you want to start or have by now maybe started. I’m tired of being treated like I have Aids or leprosy for a conviction from 2008! Juse found out I’m about to be a Father and I don’t want to let my Girlfriend or my child down.. don’t have to get rich, just want to be able to provide for them without going back into the old lifestyle. I can’t turn out like my Father…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *