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    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

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How to Get a Job After Prison

Posted in General FAQ'S on April 12, 2016

On paper, a convicted felon is a convicted felon. On a job application, there is no room to explain whether a criminal record is from armed assault or stealing from a local store when you were 18. That’s why California has joined 20 other states around the nation in what’s widely become known as the Ban the Box initiative.

What is Ban the Box?

A recent survey showed that 76% of released prisoners described their experience of finding work very difficult or nearly impossible. The Ban the Box initiative, endorsed by President Obama in 2015, aims to change that.

This initiative provides job applicants with a criminal record a fair chance for their qualifications to be considered before their criminal history is known, by delaying criminal record checks until later in the hiring process. The hope is that convicted felons will have a much higher chance of securing a job.

After release from prison, it can be very difficult to readjust to civilian life, especially if freedom comes with parole or probation. For the rest of the person’s life, he or she will be marked as a convicted felon – often hindering their ability to find work or housing, depending on their charges. For many released prisoners, not being able to live a normal life is devastating and leads to further misdemeanors and prison time. They get stuck in a hopeless cycle.

Ban the Box gives released prisoners a second chance by placing them on fair ground among other job applicants for most of the hiring process.

How to Secure a Job After Prison Release

The first and most important step while trying to secure a job after being released from prison is to understand which offenses are on your record and to know your rights during a job application.

The nature of your conviction matters on a job application, as different types of jobs don’t allow certain types of convicted felons to work for them. For example, a financial conviction will make it impossible for you to work in insurance or banking. During the job search, consider jobs that don’t have anything to do with the nature of your conviction for the best chances of getting hired.

In certain situations, you may not be obligated to disclose your criminal record to an employer; for instance, if your record was expunged or if your arrest did not turn into a conviction. It’s also possible to erase your record by obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation, in which case your criminal history shouldn’t haunt you at all.

Now that California is a Ban the Box state, you no longer have to worry about employers dismissing you upon receiving your application. For most employers, it’s illegal to disqualify anyone with an arrest record immediately, but if your conviction is related to the job, it’s a different story. Now that Ban the Box is law in our state, you won’t have to worry about being barred from an interview or other hiring processes early on just because of your record.

Take advantage of personal connections to secure your first job out of prison, as these will look good on a resume and improve your chances of being hired in the future. Ask friends and relatives to put in a good word for you or if they know someone who is hiring. It’s a good idea to acquire a few letters of recommendation, from non-relatives, if possible, during the job-hunt process.

If you or a loved one has faced an injustice from an employer due to a criminal history, you may be liable to receive compensation. Contact us today to discuss your case with one of the expert attorneys at Graham Donath Law Offices, APC.