How to Find a Job After Prison: 5 Ways to Get Back on Your Feet

    When applying for a job there is always the small box that asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime. Most people can confidently check off “no” without another thought about it. However, there are millions of people reentering society after spending time behind bars and in need of employment. The stigma that follows former inmates can last a lifetime. No matter the facts surrounding the crime most won’t be given a fair chance at a job. As a result, these formerly incarcerated Americans join millions of unemployed. As a result, industries could  be overlooking qualified candidates who can benefit their company.

    Over half the country and 150 cities have united to help former inmates finding employment. The “ban the box” campaign feature laws and statues looking into a person’s skills and experience when hiring. Companies are encouraged to give struggling former offenders a fair chance. Applications aren’t required to ask if you’ve you committed a crime. Employers have the option to run background checks on current or potential employees. Informational sites such as Go Look Up give detailed reports of anyone’s current (and former) address, phone numbers, and perhaps an embarrassing mugshot from the arrest. There are positives accompanying documentation of your past. Ex-cons part of a workforce are less likely to quit a job, remain longer than non-criminals, and encourage them not becoming repeat offenders. 


    Potential employers appreciate honesty and straightforwardness with the explanation of your past. Many jobs will run background checks even if their applications omit the crime box. If this is the case, be honest about what occurred but how you are currently living a proper life. Being frank about your history tells them you are ready and willing to prove yourself for them. However, give them enough information without details that may intimidate the interviewer (such as clear details of the crime itself).

    Follow the Rules

    If you are on parole make sure you are keeping your nose clean. See your parole or probation officer on time and don’t give them issues with you. If a potential employer asks if it’s ok to speak with your supervising officer, you have nothing to worry about. Their confidence in your progress means a great deal. Employers may be more willing to take a former inmate if they know they can be trustworthy. Knowing you were let out early for good behavior may also increase your chances of a job. Many companies hire ex-cons for their work ethic and trying to make a new life for themselves. 


    Inmates participate in work programs help contribute to giving back to society. It also leads to skill-building and learning important trades for when they reenter the community. College courses and degrees to further education are offered and encouraged by organizations such as the Prison Studies Project in similar hopes that former inmates better their situations. Degrees in STEM fields such as engineering have increased in popularity. Companies like ENSER are always searching for engineering staffing temp positions which may lead to a full-time career.


    Once you have been released, people from your past may come around to see you. Even with the best intentions of wanting to hang out with you, it’s a good idea to distance yourself from them once you’re out. Entering into therapy or continuing substance abuse programs keep you on a better mental health path. CBT may help treat former convicts, as the idea behind CBT is to help change and reshape negative thoughts you once conducted. 

    Self-Confidence Towards Self-Employment

    Almost half of the released prisoners end back up in prison only a few years after they come out. For some prison creates a fire and desire to become once they are out. Unwavering confidence in yourself can launch you into a thriving and self-promoted, entrepreneurial career. You can utilize the skills you learned inside such as mechanics freelancing on cars, become a certified electrician, or even cooking for a catering company or running a food truck. Another idea is to start a blog to share your unique journey (or becoming a mentor for those in similar situations). It allows to you tell the world your story and the positive path you’ve taken.