Without many of the programs available for felons, many ex-convicts would end up back behind bars. The bottom-line is that life on the outside is an uphill struggle for many people who were previously incarcerated. Some programs in place for the felons in Florida include:
- Project Reconnect (http://www.dc.state.fl.us/secretary/press/2002/reconnect.html): This Florida Department of Corrections’ project helps ex-inmates make a new start outside of prison. The program helps place ex-convicts into jobs after they are released.
- The National Hire Network (http://www.hirenetwork.org/clearinghouse): A nation-wide resource that helps ex-felons with job placement, training and support by leading them to agencies that can help.
- The Federal Bonding Program (http://www.bonds4jobs.com/): This Department of Labor program gives a guarantee (Fidelity Bonds) to employers of hard-to-place employees.
How to find Jobs for Felons
A few of the regular ways of finding jobs have some relevance for the ex-felon as well, however, they sometimes have to work a little harder. Having a well-written resume and improving their interviewing skills are of great importance. Job listings online and in the newspapers can be used to find jobs, but the results will not be great. For many ex-felons, the best way to find employment is through organizations that specialize in helping them with job placements.
Ex-felons can turn to the Internet to find resources to help them improve their interview skills and to write strong resumes. Some useful sites that are specific to the ex-offender and that can help with building better interview skills are:
- CV Tips (http://www.cvtips.com/interview/ex-offender-interview-tips.html): provides advice on writing a resume and handling a job interview.
- Step Ahead (http://www.iseek.org/exoffenders/index.html): This program helps people who have criminal backgrounds to set goals, get training for new skills and work towards careers and job placement.
- Mind Tools (http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/FirstImpressions.htm): While not geared specifically to ex-convicts, the information available on making a good first impression will be valuable when going to an interview.
Learn how to dress when going for an interview and the type of attitude that is necessary to make you a suitable candidate for a job. If you do not own a suit or any type of suitable clothing, check with the Salvation Army or other charitable agencies for help.
Finding Jobs for Convicted Felons in Florida
When looking for jobs for felons in Jacksonville, Florida or any other areas in Florida you should start with the US Department of Labor (http://www.doleta.gov/RExO/PDF/Prisoner_Reentry_Resources.pdf) website for information on programs for ex-offenders. The information available can help in finding other resources and programs that will help ex-felons re-enter society.
Another good way to find jobs for felons in Tampa, Florida or in Florida in general is to actually go to places that are likely to employ ex-convicts. This includes many well-known restaurant chains such as Applebee’s and McDonald’s. Ex-offenders.net (http://exoffenders.net/employment-jobs-for-felons/) regularly lists the name of felon-friendly employers in Florida. Some companies on this list are:
- Buffalo Wild Wings
Apart from help with job placement, many programs will help ex-felons start their own business. The site, Freedom 4 Felonz (http://freedomforfelonz.com/) which is run by a former felon, is good source of information and support for ex-inmates who want to start companies. It offers advice on running a successful online businesses and the site also has a number of motivational videos.
Tips for Finding Housing for Felons in Florida
Having a safe and convenient place to call home after leaving prison is an important part of an ex-prisoner’s re-entry into the outside world. Unfortunately, many property management companies and landlords will not rent to ex-convicts. Some people are lucky enough to have family and friends who will give them a place to live. Others already had homes before ending up in prison. However, for many people who leave prison there is no suitable accommodation for them to call home.
In Florida, the Clifford Hill Community Outreach Center, Inc. (http://www.housingforexinmates.com/services.html) helps ex-inmates find somewhere to live. According to the Center’s website, ex-inmates do not need to pay a deposit before moving into an apartment. Those taken into the Center’s program will also benefit from employment opportunities as a means to help you get back on your feet.
Ask individuals such as corrections officers, probation officers and lawyers about available resources for finding housing solutions. The can generally recommend transitional lodgings that provide ex-felons with short-term accommodations. While these kinds of settings are not the ideal since they are for set periods, they provide a place to live while you look around.
For any ex-felons who are serious about turning their lives around when released from prison, keeping a positive outlook is important. This will help them deal with job application rejections as well as difficulties in finding suitable housing. Learning what works and what does not is an important part of the process. Ex-felons have to develop an attitude of not giving up if they hope to succeed once they leave prison.