We like to think that in the United States, all people have rights and equality; all people have a voice. However, there are 65 million Americans. Some of those are people who fall off the radar completely and spend a life in struggle. They are those who come out of jail and are stigmatized because a crime that their time in prisons pays for. If a prisoner is out of jail he deserves a chance to make amends in his life if he is sincere about it.
Ex-prisoners have paid their debts for their wrongdoings and have been deemed fit for re-entry into society. At the time of their release, ex-prisoners should be allowed all of their human rights, including the right to vote, the right to work and the right to access affordable housing.
People with criminal records should be able to turn their lives around without being denied the resources needed to do so. In the U.S., many employers have policies that flat-out refuse to hire anyone with a criminal record, no matter how qualified a person is for the position. Gainful employment is a necessity for an ex-prisoner trying to get back on his or her feet; it helps prevent recidivism by providing legal income and giving a person a productive role in society. But because of discriminatory hiring practices, many ex-prisoners are forced to resort back to criminal activities to support themselves and their families.
Darlene Lewis, whose son faced the same situation, decided to dedicate herself to helping ex-convicts find jobs so they don’t fall back into a life of crime.
Last year alone, her non-profit, Lewis Burnett Employment Finders, helped more than 2,000 ex-offenders find full-time employment.
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