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Jobs for Felons in California

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Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Careers and Employment
Published on 10-10-2009

With the growing popularity of pre-employment background screening, it’s harder than ever for someone who has been convicted of a felony to find an employer willing to take a chance and hire that person. For typically $20-$100, companies can contract with a screening provider to first find all the addresses at which a job candidate has lived for the past 25 years, and then do a criminal record search of the court systems in all the counties in the address search results.

The topic of hiring convicted felons is one that is polarizing, as some believe that people who commit these crimes should not be able to get a job in order to segregate them from society. For instance, many would not want to hire or work alongside a former rapist or murderer, or even someone who was caught embezzling. Others have more of a rehabilitation position and think that it’s important for felons to be able to find a decent job in order to reintegrate them into society, since they’ve paid the debt for their crime.

Whichever camp one’s in, with the current recession the job prospects aren’t that great for non-felons in California, so unfortunately the situation is even grimmer for convicted felons. Ordinarily, one can check the state government website to find out which state jobs felons are eligible for. But with the state near bankruptcy and cutting back hours and pay for thousands of state workers, that option is basically off the table for the near future.

There are, however, jobs felons will find they can land, if only because it’s hard to find anyone else who is willing to put up with the conditions. Kitchen work such as dishwashing is an example of this, and while it’s not the most glamorous of positions, work such as this can provide a steady paycheck at a time when one is trying to get his or her life back on track. Unfortunately for the felon, minimum-wage jobs are basically the extent of what is possible, at least during the period shortly after the felony has been committed.

There are organizations that act as advocates for the poor and disadvantaged, and many times will bring felons under their wing as well. In the Los Angeles area, an organization named Chrysalis is helping people in these categories find jobs through their employment programs.

Goodwill Industries can be another valuable resource in California. This organization has a job placement division that helps the downtrodden find employment. According to the organization’s website, 172,317 found jobs through the Goodwill job placement program.

For a convicted felon, finding a job is typically one of the most challenging parts of trying to reintegrate into society. The choices are mostly limited to low paying jobs with less than ideal conditions. A felon should take advantage of one or more non-profit organizations with programs designed to help the unemployable find a job. While difficult, it is possible for a person who has committed a felony in California to find a job.

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