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Living with 290

Living with 290: Finding Work

I was convicted in federal court of distribution and possession of child pornography in January 2008. I was sentenced to 151 months, which, after good time, was a little under 11 years. I was released from prison in June 2018 and sent to a halfway house in Indiana, about three hours from my home. While there, I was encouraged to work, because you have to pay them part of it, but I actually wanted to work so I obtained a job at a local factory through the halfway house. In September, I was released from the halfway house to home confinement back at my mother’s house in Illinois. Since being home, I have applied for probably 50 jobs, been to all three staffing agencies in town, and had three interviews. The first company I interviewed with didn’t bother to call me and tell me anything, whether or not I was being considered, and if not, why. I have actually run into that problem a lot, people just not calling me back. I have been completely truthful and honest on each and every application and interview about my background. I feel like I at least deserve a call back letting me know why I’m not being considered, even though I know it’s because of my background, and not my interviews or work history.

With all of these companies being so desperate for qualified, competent, reliable workers, which I am, I just don’t understand why this one thing should still be held against me. I was always a productive member of society before, and would like to become one again, but I just can’t seem to get anyone to give me a second chance. I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to feel pretty hopeless, because my savings has officially run out. I do have family support, a vehicle, and a place to stay, but I wonder how long they are going to want to support me because I don’t know how long this is going to drag out.

So, that’s my story, appreciate any comments or advice anyone can give me, because I’m totally lost right now and don’t know what I should do.

I was convicted in federal court of distribution and possession of child pornography in January 2008. I was sentenced to 151 months, which, after good time, was a little under 11 years. I was released from prison in June 2018 and sent to a halfway house in Indiana, about three hours from my home. While there, I was encouraged to work, because you have to pay them part of it, but I actually wanted to work so I obtained a job at a local factory through the halfway house. In September, I was released from the halfway house to home confinement back at my mother’s house in Illinois. Since being home, I have applied for probably 50 jobs, been to all three staffing agencies in town, and had three interviews. The first company I interviewed with didn’t bother to call me and tell me anything, whether or not I was being considered, and if not, why. I have actually run into that problem a lot, people just not calling me back. I have been completely truthful and honest on each and every application and interview about my background. I feel like I at least deserve a call back letting me know why I’m not being considered, even though I know it’s because of my background, and not my interviews or work history.

With all of these companies being so desperate for qualified, competent, reliable workers, which I am, I just don’t understand why this one thing should still be held against me. I was always a productive member of society before, and would like to become one again, but I just can’t seem to get anyone to give me a second chance. I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to feel pretty hopeless, because my savings has officially run out. I do have family support, a vehicle, and a place to stay, but I wonder how long they are going to want to support me because I don’t know how long this is going to drag out.

So, that’s my story, appreciate any comments or advice anyone can give me, because I’m totally lost right now and don’t know what I should do.

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  1. Doug

    I can’t imagine being in jail for that long . I only did 9 months and I thought that was tough. after realease I think i was my own worst enemy My feer of what I thought others were thinking about me was debilitating.
    It got better with time . I was able to loose my self in my work . Its been 35 years ,
    I have become small business owner , now retired for 2 years. I would and did hire anyone with out worring about their past . I only wanted them to get the job done . have good work habits , I went thro a lot of guys who would not work . If I can help , I would talk to you . I don’t know How to get contact information .
    Being Compleatly truthful may not be nessary , Unless you are directly ask about you past. Keep trying !

    • wonderin

      Agreed. I don’t lie when it involves an honorable situation but I don’t consider a job interview that kind of endeavor. For example, you’re being honorable by being totally honest and you’re expecting the employers to reciprocate with an explanation of why you denied a position.
      Business has it’s own rule book and to be successful pay attention to how it’s played.
      Think of yourself as a salesman trying to sell a product that has some flaws but overall it’s a damn fine deal that the buyer will be immensely happy with in the long run.

    • Robert Curtis

      Become self-employed. What are your interests and strenghts? Go to Youtube and learn a skill or volunteer with a company doing your interest. Just sharpening knives at a local swop-meets can get you money. I’ll send you a free copy of my e-manual to build your own sharpener…robcurtisnow(at)gmail (dot)com

    • Billy Jack

      Hi Doug, I’m in the same boat as the author of this story. I can’t find any work to cover my rent and basic needs, let alone buy anything nice for myself.

      May I ask please what sort of business you started and how did it go? I’m thinking of buying one, but I’m not at that point yet, but I am close. I can take my small pension in 7 months, it’s not much, but will help. I am at risk of being homeless and without a place to go. Desperate yes. Would you have any ideas at all?

      My email is billyjack564@gmail.com

      Because of fear of retribution from the government, I write under the pen name of Billy Jack, the 1970’s fictional hero character who fought against corruption in law enforcement.

    • Chad Haslett

      I have always been completely truthful and honest about my crime and past in all interviews. It still has not helped. Coming up on six months now with no job. You can contact me at cah011381@gmail.com. Any help would be immensely appreciated.

  2. Facts should matter

    There’s no shame in being unemployed. At least you don’t have to worry about being fired! It’s gotten to where it’s too much adversity to overcome just to successfully gain employment – even a menial, dead end job. Being publicly listed creates this dysfunctional and inescapable “ongoing threat” narrative that employers tend to frown upon.

    Nothing is going to change until will start getting nasty.

    • Billy Jack

      I too have been denied quality jobs and I’m barely surviving. The never ending fear that employers plug into is understandable as they have to compete in the marketplace. That’s why the solution is to have a private registry if one at all ever. Seems to be the interest in everyone to have people working and taking care of themselves, but that’s not politically tasty to get votes. I think getting nasty is the right approach I think we need to be aggressive in our campaign. We need to be more vocal and fearless in assertive. Indeed no change has taken place by people being nice.

  3. Robert Curtis

    We registrants are pushed to becoming self employed. That might be the best advice for you. What are your interests and strengths? Volunteer in whatever capacity that entails getting experience and contacts. Then open a related business doing such a job. Even a bake-potato stand in a high traffic area will make you a good income. ..just convert an old hot-water heater into a victorian-oven on a cheap trailer or three wheeled bike. I do sharpening myself. You can take an old 3 wheel bike and make a knife sharpening vehicle or just work swop-meets by sharpening at a booth. you can do these things outside of your residential area so as to not bring attention to yourself as being on the registry. Service jobs and skills gained via Youtube are also an option. We are fortunate in a way that we live in the information age where possibilities are endless if we use our imagination and find a need and move to fill it.

    • BA

      This is very good advice to be creative do not wait for more rejection, we have to shape our future not them. You can have a relative sign for a booth and you work there. Start a business in the garage and sell it somewhere else………like Robert says not to attract attention. Figure out what might work if doesn’t move on to another idea! Or find out where paroles work and follow them……….

  4. Robert Curtis

    Become self-employed. What are your strengths and interest? Resource Youtube to learn an in demand skill or service and conduct business away from your residence as to not draw attention to your registration status. You can also if your parole conditions allow it to do business via the internet..ie buy and sell via Criegslist to ebay….

  5. Ron

    I don’t want to be an ass, but the rules have changed for you, and all sex offenders.
    You may have been a productive member of society before, but you are not allowed to be productive anymore. You can find a job that you can live on pay check to pay check, but don’t expect anything you can make a career of. – may self-employment. –

    “I feel like I at least deserve a call back”, if you were a thief, murderer, drug dealer, or pretty much any other type of felon, they would call you back more often.

  6. USA

    I’m from Ca and presently visiting Tennessee! I’ve honestky been in shock. Everywhere I go, I see now hiring? Hiring bonuses being offered etc. Jobs are everywhere! I would apply for a job and go from there. I recommend avoid discussing your past situation/Ca has new laws regarding this. I’ve visited several stores/restaurants and the service is bad and the people aren’t your highest caliber/no pun intended. Good luck!

  7. Joe123

    Don’t volunteer extra information unless you have to. Avoid being Honest as much as possible if you actually want to get ahead, because people will take advantage and abuse your honesty, ESPECIALLY in the legal system and corporate America.

    Also, if you MUST list your offense don’t use the word “Child”. That’s a disgusting and pathetic attempt by idiot Lawmakers to make things sound worse than they are, as if all sex images of a human under 18 years of age is a 3 year old baby being raped or something extreme like that. The word “Child” doesn’t appear when that 13 year old child murders his parents violently. He is called a “Juvenile”. How cute right? Double standards by the useless Lawmakers. Also, stop referring to yourself as a sex offender, if you do, which I assume you likely do. Don’t let the Lawmakers brainwash you. Unless your a repeat malicious serial offender, you don’t deserve the label that the Idiot Lawmakers have setup for you.

    Also, as others have said, become self employed. Stop waiting for jobs to come to you. That’s part of the problem in this country lately, people are just expecting jobs. No. Life isn’t easy like that. You’re in a particularly disadvantaged position so don’t depend on that ‘safe route’ through life anymore. Don’t sulk. Fight back against this corrupt system here.

    I cannot believe they gave you 11 years. Murders get as little as 7 years or less. Recently a guy killed and dismembered his roommate. He’s expecting a sentence as low as 10+ years. THANK YOU AMERICA. Promoter and Lover of Violence. Truth hurts huh?

    • Timmmy

      There was a singer from a famous 80s rock band, who did a burglary, then shot and killed a house keeper he surprised while in the process of the burglary. Was out of a CA jail in only three years.

    • Chad Haslett

      I was locked up with several people with hands-on cases, and enticement cases who actually tried to meet up with someone, who got less time than I got. From about 2006 until about 2010 they went crazy on porn cases and gave out time like that. They have since realized the error in their ways and are giving less time and trying to fix the sentencing guidelines, but that shit takes forever.

  8. Al

    All these stupid labels like “sex offender” or “high” risk sex offender are things created by corrupt politicians and fake scientists like the all too familiar “doctor” Karl Hanson. Personally I disagree with both labels. Politicians, with their crooked labels, and fake scientists, like the ones who love the Static 99R, only add burdens to our ability to rebuild after our mistake in life.

  9. Timmy

    There always skilled labor/unskilled labor work in areas where they do not check backgrounds. You can check out those Day Labor places where you just signed up, and if construction sites, etc. need helpers, you jump on their truck and go.

    One of the problems you got is not working for the past 10+ years.

    Something else you could consider doing to going to a local community college full time (if you can) then applying for the Pell Grant which will pay for the school and give you some left over money to fiddle around with. I suggested Community College is because they are a lot cheaper than 4 year university.

  10. kathy rivera

    Just don’t give up.
    Yes, it’s hard but hopefully your family will understand the “between a rock and a hard place” situation that you are in and continue to support you. Talk to them. Support from family and friends is paramount in this kind of situation.
    As for the job, just keep at it. Check the restaurant and retail industry. Dishwashers, prep cooks, line cooks, sales people. Alot of places will give ex-felons a chance. And surprisingly, those type jobs can be just a stepping stone to managerial positions.
    Self employment is great too. Use whatever skills you have to build on.
    Just don’t ever give up. It’s a challenge for sure, but being incarcerated for so long was far worse than this challenge. Just keep applying. You owe it to yourself! Best of luck!

    • Chad Haslett

      You say, “Alot of places will give ex-felons a chance.” Unfortunately, a great deal of the places that will hire felons, will not hire “violent” felons such as myself.

  11. Anon

    I have done it both ways.

    Without mentioning the crime, I have gotten some decent jobs, but then was fired 2-3 years later after they found out. On the plus side, I was able to make them stroke me a check for my trouble.

    With mentioning the crime I don’t even get an interview.

    They best ways I have heard of are working with people that know or starting your own business.

  12. Notta Mynamea

    I was convicted of possession of child pornography, and did 6 months in county jail plus 4 years probation. I pretty didn’t work for the entirety of my probation. Worked retail briefly, but got fired for questionable reasons. I then went to school to be a welder. I’ve still had trouble getting work, but it’s getting better. Worked for a year making $17 an hour, now making $16. Made the change due to travel, pretty much equals out. I’ve worked hard and feel like I’m starting to make headway towards an actual career. It’s always going to be hard, but things can potentially work out. My student loan payment is like $150 a month, and I’ve earned about $40K in salary from it.

  13. Gralphr

    While I havent had a problem finding jobs paying upwards to $25, it gets extremely irritating to go to interviews for other jobs, a week later receive a call saying the managers wanted me out of everyone, only to be turned away due to the background check. I’m in Vegas and just was offered a job at switch (large Data center) and Hr noticed I said I had a felony from almost 20 years ago. They then declined my job offer. These people say they want you to do the right thing, but it’s a joke. I actually have copies of offer letters from companies that offered me positions, only to terminate the offer after finding out about the registry.

    I’ve called the background check people who then told me they never sent them the felony conviction (was in a state that asked about convictions up to 7 years old) and they sent me the paperwork as proof. What happened was people within hr put my name in the registry database and found out by themselves, so I was denied yet again. I have a job right now, but it’s still extremely irritating when you’re only trying to support your wife AND kids.

    The registry is nothing BUT a cruel and inhumane punishment.

  14. bill

    i feel so grateful that I just got my felony conviction for possession reduced to a misdemeanor at least I am off the websites

  15. Lizzy

    Do not give up. My nephew got with a girl that was under age. She lied about her age. How are you men suppose to know that they are under age with a fake ID. I help my Nephew out as much as possible. He also cannot find a job. No one willing to give anyone a second chance. I read that someone said working on your own. I have to agree, however, how can you buy all the things you need to do this since you have no money.
    The US helps out other countries with money but does not really get these men and women ready for the outside world. My prayers are with all of you men and women. Once released you should all have a list of jobs you can go to so you have at least earn money to survive.
    GOD BE WITH ALL OF YOU.

    • Cool CA RC

      Don’t forget no one went to jail for creating porn movie of Tracy Lords when she was underage. because she had a fake I D.

    • Mot

      Hang in there I got out 15 years ago and was able to find a job then and some more afterwards by going to smaller companies and taking an entry job BUT you have to be honest with the employer. Sadly, last night in the Democratic debate they tried to sell us that they take care of those who have committed a crime and done their time…well, to all but US.

  16. AJ

    For those looking to make a few bucks here and there, I suggest looking into “secret shopper” type apps. One that I’ve used for about a year is called Field Agent. The job requires a smartphone, as there is almost always some sort of picture-taking involved. (I’ve only had one time where someone asked what I was doing. It was a manager at a major drugstore chain. I told him I was auditing the beer freshness and stock for a supplier. He was fine with that and walked off.) I do it just to raise extra money for my church. I’ve made about $900 in the past 12 months of casual pursuit–I don’t go out just for a job, but if I’m out and about I’ll weave it into my errands. It won’t make you rich, but it may keep you from having to eat cat food. Another one I’ve looked at but haven’t tried is EasyShift. It appears to pay more than FA, but it also appears to require more time and involvement.

    • LostandNoLongerDevastated

      @AJ and others

      If anyone knows of any RCs with programming/web dev experience let me know. My firm is just getting big enough to hire on and after my experience I of course am open to help others who are trapped in this situation.

      • AJ

        @LostandNoLongerDevastated:
        While I personally have neither need nor current skills to partake of your offer, that’s a very kind, giving thing to do. I’m happy for you for your success, in both business and court.

        You may wish to post over on FAC as well. Or you may not. 🙂

    • R M

      @AJ: Thank you for the secret shopper suggestions. I and my at that time gf did this any years ago, mostly food joints… we ate a lot for free and a few bucks to boot. I am not working now for over 3 years due to an accident at work in which the settlement paid quite a bit… it is running out though as I’ve had no other income. I have looked into both Field Agent and easy Shift. FA has jobs in my area, ES has none. I will see how they go. Do you know of any others? (Yes, there are many but not all are legit.)

  17. someone who cares

    Lost ~ What a great way to give back, and I am sure someone will benefit from your offer. If I owned my own company, and would most definitely offer a job to someone who has suffered like we did. Thank you!

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