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….[gap size=”5px”]
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.[line] [gap size=”10px”]
This page was last updated 8/25/2016