The correction system in Texas houses more than 152,000 inmates. As many of these felons are released each year, their two primary concerns will be housing and employment. As with many other states in the US, the federal government is fully aware of the challenges they face. There are government-funded programs that ex-offenders can take advantage of in their quest to start over once released. Many charities and religious organizations also have programs geared towards former inmates.
Searching for a job after being released from prison can take a long time before finding one. However, there are jobs for felons in Amarillo, Houston and other parts of Texas. Since some companies are known to be felon-friendly, former inmates who are not skilled workers should start their search at these companies. A few companies that are willing to hire people who have been in prison are:
- Best Western
- Domino’s Pizza
- Dunkin Donuts
- Kraft Foods
- Phillip Morris Co.
Admittedly, the majority of these positions are low paying jobs, but many ex-felons have managed to move on to better jobs, especially after going back to school. Do not be surprised if by the time you apply, some of these companies turn you down – the employment policy can change.
Jobs for Felons Austin, Texas
As America’s 11th largest city it is no surprise that Austin, TX has a vibrant economy that produces thousands of jobs each year. The majority of these jobs are in the defence industry and technology sectors. For most ex-felons who want a career in these fields, a college degree is necessary. Of course, even with a college education, there are some categories of jobs within these sectors that your conviction will bar you from getting.
Positions for unskilled workers are generally the best option for a job for many ex-felons in many cities across Texas. A number of nationwide companies may have jobs for felons in Austin. These include:
- Longhorn Steakhouse
Jobs for Felons in Houston, Texas
It is only natural that the largest city in Texas is a big employer. Many felon friendly companies operate in this city so ex-prisoners should explore these employers to find jobs for felons in Houston. Some potential employers in this area are:
- BMC Software
- Red Lobster
Former inmates in this city can also check Workforce Solutions (http://wrksolutions.com/jobs/jobposting_results.aspx) for information on jobs. This company hosts job fairs and posts regular events at which employers interview potential workers. Dates and times of these events are posted on their website for easy reference.
Jobs for Felons in Dallas, Texas
Aside from jobs in the public sector like sanitation or construction, the city of Dallas presents a number of employment opportunities for felons. Websites to check for job listings and information include Indeed.com (http://www.indeed.com/q-Felony-l-Dallas,-TX-jobs.html) which is a good online source to start a job search. Another good option is exoffenders.net (http://exoffenders.net/employment-jobs-for-felons/), which not only lists felon friendly companies, but also offers advice that can help in a job search.
Some possible employers of ex-felons in Dallas, TX are:
- Ace Hardware
- Avis Rent-A-Car
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Dunlop Tires
- Family Dollar
Many jobs positions are available at some of the more popular fast food outlets across the US, and the state of Texas is no exception. Ex-felons can also try the proven methods of searching for jobs, that is, scouring the Yellow Pages, newspapers listings and the classified ads. This is an easy way to find out if companies are hiring, especially if you lack Internet access.
Getting Government Help
It is not surprising that most employers are not willing to take on ex-offenders, regardless of their crime. Some employers will take a different attitude if the job seeker is bonded, that is, covered under the Federal Bonding Program (http://www.bonds4jobs.com/). This federal program helps ex-felons to find jobs all over the US though its sponsor the U.S. Department of Labor (http://www.dol.gov/). Simply put, the bonding program offers a guarantee to the employer. It encourages the applicant to be completely honest during the hiring process, and also pays for loss due to theft, embezzlement or forgery. Ex-felons who are interested in this program can contact the Texas Workforce Commission (http://www.twc.state.tx.us/) for details.
Government grants also exists which help ex-felons to start over by improving their skills or help them to find suitable housing. The Federal Pell Grant (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/index.html) for example is an education support tool for people in need. The program was not designed for ex-felons, but they are not barred from applying, and in fact many of them do so successfully. The Second Chance Act (SCA) (2008) (https://www.bja.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?Program_ID=90) provides skills training to felons which ultimately helps them to get employed.
Housing for Ex-felons in Texas
Where housing is concerned, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD) allows felons to apply for Section 8 vouchers in Texas to be able to afford suitable living accommodations. This program does have restrictions even though felons are not out rightly disqualified from getting these benefits. Violent offenders and people convicted of sex crimes will be ruled ineligible for these benefits, as will people involved in the production of illicit drugs.
One of the best things a felon can do is ask a prison counsellor or chaplain for advice before leaving prison. They can make valuable suggestions of felon friendly organizations in Texas you can contact for help. It is wise to take advantage of courses or skills training offered in prison as part of the rehabilitation process.
Starting over after prison can be daunting, but many have made it with determination. Taking time to learn where to go for help is a big part of successfully starting over.