Should ex-convicts seek employment? Absolutely. This is true about anyone. We seek jobs in order to take care of ourselves and those we love, for prestige, and for many other reasons expounded on in other articles. Many people even base their self-esteem on their jobs.
Here’s where the problem comes in: many employers will not hire an ex-convict. I was unaware of the depth of this issue until I made friends with someone who had been a convict. This person is highly intelligent, reformed, and qualified, and yet, no one will hire her. Their reasons are many, but the bottom line is one of trust. They do not want to trust that she would not commit a crime again. So begins the cycle. In many cases, the person will not revert to crime, but they have difficulty finding employers who will give them a chance to prove it.
Ex-convicts should definitely seek employment, but they may have to understand that it will be a much more difficult process than if they had never committed a previous crime. Some employers will hire ex-convicts, but many would rather not deal with the possibilities of recidivism.
This is especially true if the person committed certain kinds of crime. Murder for instance, or child molestation might make one unlikely to get a job, or at least a job that pays enough to live. In the case of the thief, certain employment opportunities that involve working with money will probably remain closed to the ex-convict.
Because of this, the ex-convict may have to accept lower-paying jobs than they might have otherwise accepted. They may have to start out with someone keeping a close eye on them and build trust over time. If the ex-convict is willing to take any job, they can begin to re-build their reputation and their worth in the community.
This, then is the main reason ex-convicts need to seek employment. They have a reputation and a past to overcome. The ex-convict can do this by determining to do his or her best at a job and build up trust with an employer. When the employer sees that the ex-convict has really turned his or her life around, the employer will become an ally in helping the ex-convict achieve his or her employment goals.
The inability to find a good-paying job is no excuse for continuing a life of crime, but it is definitely an issue that needs addressed by the ex-convicts, employers and society as a whole. The plight of the employers as well as the ex-convict are understandable, but until society addresses this issue, many may see crime as their only recourse.