Felons are branded as pariahs of society in the workforce, despite the fact that many of them simply made stupid choices during their youth and are not repeat offenders. Employers choose to label felons as ineligible for work, rather than taking into consideration the age the individual was when he/she committed their crime and the time that has passed since the crime was committed. Felons are hard pressed to provide for their families, and because of their "felon" status many able, qualified individuals are left doing menial, low paying jobs that promote welfare dependence and instability. Felons deserve a second chance and the right to work in their communities!
My husband is a felon. Ten years ago, as a 19 year old, he made a mistake that will haunt him his entire life. He pleaded no contest to 3rd Degree Burglary, and despite the fact that his record has been perfect ever since he is denied employment. He is more than qualified in the workforce and has an excellent, incident-free employment record, but after being laid off the dozens of job opportunities he has been offered are immediately withdrawn because he is a felon. His crime was not violent, nor has he repeated any criminal offense since.
Because prospective employers see "felon" on his background report, he, just like many other felons, is passed up for employment. Meanwhile, our family is on welfare and living on unemployment. The many job opportunities he may have making a liveable wage are no longer available because of ONE mistake he made as a teenager. How is that fair? How many of us, as immature teenagers and young adults, committed would-be felonies, but were just lucky enough not to get caught? In other states my husband would be eligible for expungement, but Missouri doesn't even allow felons to expunge their records!
Like many felons, my husband has had a perfect criminal record since serving his sentence. If felons are expected to become contributing members of their communities, how can they do so if they can't find sustainable work? I'm not asking for the restoration of all rights, just the restoration of felons' right to work at a liveable wage to provide for their families!
Please sign my petition, and ask the State of Missouri and the United States of America to give felons equal employment opportunities and prevent employers from discriminating against felons who:
1. Have felonies at least 10 years old as of the date of application for employment.
2. Have never been convicted of a violent or sex-related felony.
3. Are not applying for federal/state governmental jobs.
If your family is suffering because of this discrimination against felons, please sign my petition! Unless a change is made, it is not only the felon doomed to live as societal nothings, but also their children and families!