As with any other state, felons in Mississippi may find their employment opportunities somewhat limited. Finding a job and a place to live are two of the biggest concerns for anyone who was recently released from prison. Mississippi has three state prisons and many offenders are released after completing their sentences or being paroled.
It is difficult for any state to provide adequate opportunities for ex-felons, and some of them return to a life of crime. Others who take the time to look for federal jobs in Mississippi sometimes have better luck reintegrating into society. A source of income is the best way for a former inmate to make a fresh start. This will allow them to meet their basic needs like food and housing.
Finding Federal Jobs in Mississippi
It should come as no surprise that the US government is one of the largest employers of former felons. Federal programs assist felons in finding gainful employment and housing.
Former inmates who have no friends or family members to turn to for help have to rely heavily on these programs. One of these is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) which gives employers a tax incentive to hire ex-felons. They can get a tax credit ranging from $1,200 to $9,600 for employing different categories of ex-felons.
Many former inmates find government jobs in construction projects or by joining the armed forces. Additionally, the government takes steps to put potential employers at ease about the idea of hiring felons and other relatively risky job applicants.
The Federal Bonding Program offers employers bonds as a form of security which guarantees that job seekers will fully disclose all relevant information on their job applications. If the employer suffers any kind of loss due to the hiring of these individuals, the bond will help them recover these costs. More than forty thousand people have been placed in jobs under this program since its inception.
A simple way to start a search for federal jobs in Jackson MS is to go online. The website (http://www.indeed.com/q-Federal-Government-Jobs-l-Jackson,-MS-jobs.html) has a detailed list of companies and the positions they have available. Many parolees may also find their way to the state’s second largest city, Gulfport, in the hope of finding jobs and housing. The places hiring in Gulfport MS aside from federal organizations would be employers known to be typically felon friendly. These include:
- Golden Corral
- Avis Rent-A-Car
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Dairy Queen
- Men’s Wearhouse
- Olive Garden
- Salvation Army
These are just a few of the many companies that are willing to give ex-offenders a chance to start a new life. The website, ex-offenders.net ( http://exoffenders.net/employment-jobs-for-felons/ ) has a comprehensive listing of felon friendly companies. This information can get you started on the right foot.
Housing for Felons in Mississippi
Unless they receive housing assistance immediately, or they are placed in a halfway house, ex-felons may find themselves being homeless. Since many ex-inmates will not have a source of income, being able to rent property will be impossible.
Federal assistance is the best way to deal with this issue upon release as inmates may qualify for Section 8 vouchers from HUD (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/mississippi).
The Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV (http://www.mrh4.com/contact-us.htm) does not cater specifically to former inmates, but this option is worth a try. It is especially relevant if the ex-felon has a family and has no other option for affordable housing.
Visiting the courthouse in any area in Mississippi is another good way to learn about state programs for funding housing, education or even assistance with paying bills.
Other Types of Federal Assistance for Ex-felons
Some former inmates who have their sights set on a particular career may want to go back to school to achieve their goal. They can apply for Pell Grants, which will cover some of their college expenses.
The application process requires that applicants be drug free, so anyone who has failed a recent drug test will immediately be ruled out. If subsequent tests prove that they have been drug free for a long period, they may re-apply for the Pell Grant.
The Federal government also assist former inmates with grants or support to start their own businesses. They can also access funds through the federal government to help them learn new skills which will make them more employable. The Small Business Association (http://www.sba.gov/) is another source of information about running your own business.
It is important for ex-felons in Mississippi and in other states to remember that no matter how qualified they are, the odds are will be stacked against them. It is up to each inmate to do their best to prove their doubters wrong, and to show that they are capable of being law-abiding citizens.
The chance of ex-offenders going back to criminal activity is always a concern. In a large state like Mississippi, there are many options for getting your lives back on track if you take the time to adjust and be patient.