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Living with 290

Living with 290: Endless Sentence – But Hopeful.

I am new to the site, did not know it existed.  I am a 290 registrant, with no options for relief but a Governor’s Pardon. My case was non-violent.  I got my case in 1998, was my first experience with law enforcement.  Not knowing the consequences I plead no contest to my charge.  I acted stupidly and thought this was the “honorable” thing to do.  I ended up with doing almost 7 years in prison.  Wasn’t until I paroled that I found I would be a life time registrant.

I am blessed with a great family which knew the situation and supported me unconditionally, lost some friends, but found who the true ones where and have them to this day.  I have read some of the stories here, and really feel for those who are not as lucky as I have been.  Just wanted to share the blessing I have had despite my mistake and the fact this will hang over my head forever.

When I was released I found work, a place to stay and enrolled in an online college program (you all know we cant go on campuses).  I spent seven years and achieved a B.S and M.B.A.  During this time I worked for a company for seven years and made it to lower mgmt.  I left this company when a offer that doubled my salary came in.  This is the struggle:  even though I have always not hid my felony, companies will hire you and then fire you when they “discover” your felony (which is on the application).  I lost a good position and found myself out of work.  I hunted down a temp job 45 days later, which has lead to my present job.  I work for a great company and make a really good living.

During this time I met my wife and was accepted into her family with open arms.  Was very difficult meeting the prospective in-laws and making them aware of my situation.  My father – in -law is an active county Sheriff.  They are awesome!  I am truly blessed to have such a great family by marriage.  My wife and I have just celebrated our 9 year anniversary.

I am writing this because I have to register every year and be humiliated as I am treated like crap at the local police office.  I constantly have the weight of being “found out” by co-workers and new friends.  I have to live the the limits my prior actions impose on me and my family.  However, I have found if you concentrate on what can be done in your life, not what you can’t have, things can work out well.  Also, I have found refusing to explain yourself gets better reaction than trying to “explain” the situation where you made a lapse in judgement.  I refuse to re-litigate my case with anyone.  I tell people that, that part of my life is over, they can work with the person they see today, or worry about a past person which no longer exist.  After all it is what we do, not what we say that matters.

I desire to do what I can to help those in this group, but like many of you fear the attention that can come from putting yourself out there.  I have been successful, but understand because of the SO badge, all can be lost at a moments notice.  That is the burden all here share.

Hang in there all.

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  1. Dr

    Great story , I think we all feel the same way

  2. JR

    I too have had a first time run in with the law and paid for a crappy Lawyer with no spine and took the plea. There is relief available though a certificate of rehabilitation for certain crimes. Call the Public Defenders office in your town/County and talk with them. They will tell you straight up if you have a chance. I have received a COR and relieved of the duty to register every year. No more embarrassment or ducking friends and such. It’s gonna take some work and over a year in appearances in court almost monthly for me, but worth every moment I spent to not deal with the visit to the man every year. The Brass ring may within your reach!

    • Jaiden

      Hi! Do public defenders cost a lot?
      And can you explain the process that you went through to achieve the certificate of rehabilitation?

  3. mike r

    Janice and staff, Thank you for everything you do so unselfishly for everyone on the list and for American FREEDOM.

    Here is a summary of my story I thought I would share with you people on here. I hope it gives someone hope and helps even one person then it would have been worth spending the time writing it. First off I am a non violent non contact first time ex offender from an incident that occurred over a decade ago. I think a lot of people here can relate to that since I bet the majority of cases are like mine.

    Yes very glad to hear someone talking about their positive experiences for a change. Couple things I want to make clear though. First off for anyone that doesn’t have a support system in place there is still hope. I did a few years in prison for my offense and was released in 2008. I had family and friends that are still there for me to this day but because of all the conditions of parole mostly the residency restrictions I had it was impossible for me to live with any of them. I was destitute since I had to sell everything I owned in order to bail out and fight my case so I had no financial support at all. After a couple of halfway houses that were hell to be in with upwards of 40 people in four and five bedroom houses and a hotel for a month I was put on the street Luckily I was able to get into a homeless shelter here in Sacramento which was called Volunteers of America and was run by an ex correctional officer. During that time I was able to get food stamps going and get a bus pass. A friend of mine bought me a cell phone and a gift card for Walmart which I spent on backpack and rain gear since it was winter here n sac. Me and a few other 290s stayed there for about eight months actually only me and one other guy that was RC did everything they asked us to do so the administrator the ex CO fought the board of directors to keep us there since we had nowhere to go and no other programs would take us, When they switched the shelter into a family shelter the Norma the EX CO got me and my now close friend into a detox facility that they ran even though we weren’t detoxing they managed to get us beds there. Now all this time that we were being shuffled around and made to jump through what seemed like never ending hoops for parole and the shelter me and my friend were able to secure jobs at this old wrecking yard thanks to another RSO that we knew. That was the break we both needed. After getting up at 430 in the morning 6 days a week and not getting back to the detox until almost ten at night which was the deadline or get kicked out we both began to get on our feet. Its amazing because they were getting ready to kick us out because they simply could not continue to use resources on us any longer because the board of directors wouldn’t let them my friend was able to get his disability from the veterans affairs since he was a military veteran from Nam. that gave him the ability to get his own apt since our job only paid us 60 a day that wasn’t going to get a place and we couldn’t share an apt because that’s against the rules. So he was set.Fantastic absolutely amazing timing. Then two days before I was supposed to go my social worker that worked with me throughout this whole ordeal and thanks to my PO of all people got me into a homeless program for chronically homeless which they spent months and months trying to find a place for me that was compliant with the residency restrictions. I’m not a religious man but I tell ya someone was watching out for my friend and I. The point here is that we never gave up and fought and did everything everyone asked us to do and we were both able to pull out of that hopeless situation.He is now up in Oregon back to driving big rigs and i now have a GF who is helping pay the bills and contrary to what the writer said we can attend college because since getting laid off from that dead end job because they found out about my status i am actually attending college for the first time. I just started in august and so far it seems to be going OK although I do still worry that other students may find out and it would make it almost impossible since i have to do group projects and group discussions and such. Yes I did have to go to the campus police and tell them I was attending and give them a copy of my classes and a copy of my reg. form but that was it no big deal. It doesn’t matter what ever happens I am not going to let anyone or anything stop me from bettering my life and moving on. BOTTOM LINE.

    Hope you guys can benefit from this post and never give up. Remember we all must show up speak up and always standup

  4. Q

    “all can be lost at a moments notice. That is the burden all here share.”

    Such a true statement. But not for everyone. But true for allot of us.

  5. Craig

    Just saw this post, I see you are strong. It is a good story. Thanks

  6. I was civilly committed

    I just wanted to make one statement about going to college. The beginning comment stated he was not allowed to be at the college for classes.

    I work with offenders in the Fresno area and the community college has never refused or denied me from going to classes or being on campus. I had to register with the college police, that’s all.

    I work with offenders who are in Coalinga state hospital and I design Release and Relapse Prevention Plans and mentor them on how to talk with the state evaluators in order to increase their chances of being released. In their Release Plan we include their going to college and using the EOP&S program to help them. I attended classes at the community college for two years. I hope this will help others to see that if you are getting out of prison the best thing to do is to go to college and use the FAFSA, which is Federal Money earmarked to help low income citizens to attend college. They pay you to attend. I received about $800.00 a month during the semester to help me survive when I first got out of Coalinga. If anyone needs more info let me know.

  7. DR

    Thanks for posting everyone; these comments empower me to continue thriving for a better life. I too wanted to add some comments.

    Mike R- don’t get discouraged even if people find out your status. You are doing something good for yourself which contributes to your own rehabilitation. Take this from someone who was at a community college and endured the most grueling and hideous media attack for something I had done 10 years ago. Sure, it was probably one of the worse experiences I have been through, but I fought back and didn’t give up. In fact, I did even more for the school after the exposure, helped them get some grants for mental health, implemented some programs that benefited students, and got into the number one public university in the world. I am now applying for grad school as I am graduating very soon. So keep up the great work.

    As I’m embarking on more change in my life and filling my toolbox with more skills and a degree, possibly a grad degree, I’m left wondering where I will be able to work or more so, who will be willing to hire me. I’ve been an executive for a bank, self-employed in the real estate and mortgage industry, but I now want to work in the public sector through nonprofit work. Does anyone know of any organization or maybe someone else that wants to partner up to provide social services to marginalized groups such as RSOs and others? I’m either going to be going to grad school next year in either business school or public policy, or just taking a year off from school.

    Keep thriving everyone.

    On a side note – I’ve read previous posts on not being able to fly out of the country due to our RSO status, are there ANY countries in which we can fly to that would not pose a problem?

    • Quint

      @DR: We can’t be prevented from leaving, but we can be prevented by the country you want to visit from landing. I’ve heard lots of rumors and one or two stories, but Mexico, Canada, and the Philippines are a for sure no go, and most South/Central American destinations are out. RSOs do travel, but it’s a hit-and-miss. Best advice is call the embassy anonymously and straight up ask. 9 times out of ten it’s ‘up to the immigration officer’ if there is no federal policy in place that specifically says RSOs are not allowed. (Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines have done this.)

      • Timmr

        Although a country may not have a blanket rule about not letting someone on one of the United State’s sex offender registries into their country, the US is sending a letter to the destination country saying that the traveler is likely to commit a crime in the destination country. That is what many people on this site have reported. I think getting an official notice from the US with that damning word “likely” is what tips the destination country’s customs official decision towards turning you around and sending you back. Just a guess.

        • David H

          And I believe that is where the lawsuit is! how could they possibly conclude that about me let alone slander me in such a way!

          They’ve just become to use to being able to kick us around!

      • DR

        What if we drive into Mexico? I’m trying to find any context to that matter. And who do I need to notify if I am just going to drive or walk into Mexico for the day?

      • PM111

        I recently returned from a great trip that took me through The Netherlands, Belgium and France. I experienced no problems whatsoever.

    • Joe

      There are no reports of any problems with any country in Europe (outside of possibly the UK). Once inside the Schengen countries national borders no longer exist if one wanted to move around. There is more to do and see than a person can do in a lifetime.

  8. Frank

    This may be worthy of it’s own headline.

    Justice Department will no longer use the words “felon” or “convict” to refer to people who have left prison/jail: Also mentioned in the article. Use of the word “Offender”.

    • Timmr

      Very interesting. So, I wonder what they will call the people on the registries who are also done serving their sentence?

      • Frank

        I wanted to write someone and ask that very question, Timmr.

        Greta Van Susteren actually mentioned this during her Off-the-record segment at the end of her show a few days back. She was all for easing the pressure on Felons re-entering society. Everyone always mentions how they want to do the right thing for citizens of the U.S. until they find out you are registered. Then the stuttering begins. Registered Citizens are forgotten when they all talk about reforms.

        I contacted this guy here in Nevada about the class action lawsuit he’s filing for access to firearms after 5 years following release from probation/parole. so he can “hunt” or at a minimum “protect his family.”
        When I asked if I could join the “Class”, he and his lawyers said that as a RC, I would need to file a separate Lawsuit.

        They didn’t want a registered citizen poisoning their “Class”.

        • Timmr

          I am wondering how the courts are going to explain away the fact the government itself is here saying that keeping the label “offender” after time is served is really placing a burden on the person. It’s not merely the perception by the former offender as an “embarrassment”.

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