Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Military recruiting felons

"If I ever get home to Houston alive,
I won't drive a truck anymore."
- Steve Earle

Over the weekend I discussed the difficulties for convicts finding employment, so I should mention at least one employer who's hiring more ex-felons than ever: The US military. That's the upside for ex-felons; the downside is they'll probably train you for a few months then ship your ass off to Iraq.

They're spending more than ever on marketing for every new recruit and still coming up short, so the Army has expanded its prospective labor pool. Notes the San Francisco Chronicle ("US is recruiting misfits for army," Oct. 1).
In February, the Baltimore Sun wrote that there was "a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms 'serious criminal misconduct' in their background" -- a category that included "aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats." From 2004 to 2005, the number of those recruits rose by more than 54 percent, while alcohol and illegal drug waivers, reversing a four-year decline, increased by more than 13 percent.

In June, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that, under pressure to fill the ranks, the Army had been allowing into its ranks increasing numbers of "recruits convicted of misdemeanor crimes, according to experts and military records." In fact, as the military's own data indicated, "the percentage of recruits entering the Army with waivers for misdemeanors and medical problems has more than doubled since 2001." ...

the Houston Chronicle reported in August that Army recruiters were trolling around the outskirts of a Dallas-area job fair for ex-convicts.

"We're looking for high school graduates with no more than one felony on their record," one recruiter said.
I don't actually mind expanding military recruitment to low-level felons; in fact I think it's a good idea. Military discipline might be a good cure for what ails many ex-offenders - they would receive focused training in discipline instead of just punishment for its lack. If the military could offer record expungement, I bet it'd get a lot more takers.

The author of the SF Chronicle piece worries that as a result of the expanded labor pool, "a new all-volunteer generation of UUUU's may emerge -- the underachieving, unable, unexceptional, unintelligent, unsound, unhinged, unacceptable, unhealthy, undesirable, unloved and uncivil -- all led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful," but I don't think that's a big concern.

Vietnam era UUUUs were draftees, plucked out of their daily lives and shipped off to fight without their consent. Ex-felons who volunteer for the military today are different - they're more likely patriots looking for opportunities they can't find in the private employment market, searching, even at obvious personal risk, for that rare employer who will let them "be all that they can be."

13 comments:

Poverty Lawyer 1 said...

I couldn't agree more. Low level felons should get more opportunities like this to re-enter society. I think the expunction idea is a phenomenal one. Perhaps you could one day be, dare I say it, President! (to quote a little Blazing Saddles on a dull Tuesday afternoon)

Rusty said...

This idea has good and bad qualities.

The good is giving people chances.

The bad is, the FEDS have come up with a way to circumvent the overwhelming refusal of our people to sacrifice our young for this war in Iraq. If our people BELIEVED in this war enlistment wouldn't be a problem! The fact that ALL BRANCHES OF THE SERVICE " CAN'T " MEET THEIR GOALS TELLS THE TRUTH!!! Even with doubled and tripled signing bonuses and promises of education funds IT AN'T HAPPENING!

We have more people in jail and prison than ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH! So I guess the pool of available manpower will be enough to feed the war machines need for warm bodies. EVEN IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON'T SUPPORT IT! Oh well if the manpower pool gets to small THEY CAN ALWAYS COME UP WITH NEW LAWS TO "" CREATE NEW FELONS "", RIGHT!!! After all this failure called the war on drugs is generating PLENTY OF YOUNG LOW LEVEL FELONS! and don't worry about the fact the MAJORITY are NON VIOLENT, after a few tours in IRAQ """ THEY WILL HAVE OVER COME THEIR NON VIOLENT WAYS """! And SURELY none will use this """ NEW "" training AFTER THEY RETURN TO CIVILIAN LIFE!! Or could it be """ SOME """ are banking on solving two problems with one KILLING??? They get the warm bodies they need for their wars, and they get rid of those non conformist by getting them KILLED!

Some times things are not as simple and without a manipulated agenda, AS THEY LOOK!!!

Why is ANYBODY has to take a chance on DYING to get a second chance IN THE SUPPOSED FREEST COUNTRY ON EARTH???

Anonymous said...

Just a prime example of how much our government cares about the boys over there. Makes me sick! I personally know a kid who is about 21 and very disturbed who just finished boot camp and will probablly be going to Iraq soon. The guy has some major mental problems! His dad is a drug dealer, his mom is crazy, dad's girlfriend shot herself in the head at the house his family lives in still a year or two ago b/c she was scizophrenic and addicted to meth, and He is a real nut-job. I'm pretty sure he is bi-polar and he definetly has some emotional problems. How he even got into the army is beyond me. But get in he did and I know that his recruiter knew about the problems he and his family have had over the years. How could he have encouraged a kid like that to join the armed forces knowing that he'd been handed an assalt weapon in Iraq and God only know what will happen as a result. I thought about contacting someone about the situation but they don't care. The boys over in Iraq are nothing but a number to the congress men and women who allowed to the US to get involved in this senseless war over there. But to the family of those kids they're everything.

Guardsman said...

Grits,
As a soldier, I don't know if I want to have felons among my ranks - personally I don't want to have to look over my shoulder every day to see if they're up to something or even just stealing my stuff!

As a recruiter I see that many people who require moral waivers (waivers for law violations) usually want to better their lives and many feel that they need to give back to the society that they wronged.

You're right, the military can, and will, rehabilitate them more than our current correctional system can.

I don't like the expunction idea one bit however. There are things that they can do to re-pay society but their criminal record needs to stay in tact in my opinion.

Rusty,
FACT: The Active Army and Army Reserve EXCEEDED their recruiting goals for FY06. The Army National Guard came up short at 99% of their recruiting goals.

FACT: Re-enlistment rates are close to 50% IN IRAQ!

Waivers for low-leval felonies and misdominors has ALWAYS been available to new recruits. During the 1990's, when President Clinton was down sizing the military, recruiters could pick and choose their recruits - doing a waiver is a lot of time and work so why do one when you've got 10 other people who don't need waivers. I'd rather enlist the people who require less work.

Pertaining to your "new skills" the ex-felons are supposedly trying to get to terrorize America with - like I said before the Army will rehabilitate them. They will instill in them the concepts of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. These are the values that every soldier lives by - can't say that about most of the civilian population.

Anonymous,
So this kid is a "nut-job" huh? You're "pretty sure" he's bi-polar? Sounds serious. Good thing that you have your PHD and you were able to diagnose him huh?

What? You don't have a PHD? Well excuse me for letting the medical experts that the military hires do the diagnosis here.

Just because his dad is a drug dealer and his mom is "crazy" and his dad's girlfriend killed herself. Don't you think that maybe this kid is just trying to provide a better life for himself?

Maybe he just wanted to serve his country????

-Guardsman
http://sgtguardsman.blogspot.com

denise said...

well folks little do you know there are plenty of soldiers who are one shake down/ urinalysis away from doing time this goes for all ranks so the idea of recruiting ex felons shouldn't raise any eye- brows. corruptions is alive an well in the military just ask any military criminal investigation agent how many times they have done some illegal $%^& to convict a soldier.

Anonymous said...

WELL WELL WELL.

AS A EXFELON I myself would join in a hart beat..Not that I want to use my new skills against the USA, ya dumb ass.Not all exfelons are bad people. Some just had to much time on there hands and got mixed up with the wrong things...Im sure that you have never "tasted" the candy in your local stor without paying for it ....so at that I think that letting exfelons "not sex or violent ofenders in" is a good idea.
So I have beed "good" for about 15yrs ya think that I can serve my country or just sit back and watch the "goodie good shoes" fight for me and my freedom......

Anonymous said...

as an ex-felon I don't see why we shouldn't be given another chance. It bothers me that we live in a society that looks at us as nothing until the same problem hits your OWN HOME. Some of you need to stop and think about what you say and whom it's directed to. No one person is better than the next and we all have done something that quite a few are sorrow for and some of you just haven't got caught.

Anonymous said...

Heck they'll take anyone. See ARMY WRONG www.armywrong.net and see what's up with recruiting.

Kelly said...

It is amazing at how many people do not understand recruiting and chose to believe everything they hear and without basis. Recruiting is like any other sales person, they tell the person the truth but maybe not the whole truth. I spent time at a recruiters office during my service time. I do not recall any time that a recruiter lied or intentionally mislead.
As to the point, some felons deserve a second chance. Many felony crimes have been added to the list over the years.
People deserve a second chance for youthful indiscretions.
News Articles do not even try to compare apples to apples. Anything to sell a copy (in most cases). http://aztekman.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

This should be stopped immediately. Criminals that currently go to jail learn more aggressive and violent behaviors. The military encourages that of behavior and thus to put extremly simple, people with violent histories are dehumanized. These people then return back to society with ptsd, this does not require you to be a psychologist to see the negative ramifications of this. Sadly to say most citizens do not make an effort to think rationally and that is why we are in this current situation. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Abraham Lincoln

Anonymous said...

I have a felony conviction from years ago. Society has branded me as a no good and tried to keep me from being successful every way imaginable. I screwed up when I was very young and have paid and paid and paid for it. I am bitter about the way I have been treated. I tried for years to be a productive member of society even volunteering in my community to help others. All I ever got for it was a real good fucking! I finally gave up and have become a successful "business man" after a great education. I learned how to seal just within the law. I have no pity on anyone, you all are my next target and you brought it on yourselves. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Society fucked me for years so now I am fucking society every chance I get. It is obviously what society wanted from me so I am here to satisfy! I hope you hard line fuck the ex-cons people are the next ones I take down for your home or retirement fund. I didn't need a gun to take everything you have worked for, just a damn good business and finance education. I even screwed you into paying for me to get educated on how to screw you. You should have not worried about me getting a gun, you should have made it illegal for me to get a MBA! I love my off shore home where I am a real person not a scum bag ex-con. I have moved out of the US dollar long ago trading in the precious metals market leaving you dumb asses with your worthless dollars and your mountain debt. No Quarter

aztecmandingo@yahoo said...

I have read opinions from people on both sides of the issue. Now Let me fill you in on some facts, I'm an ex-felon who served over 11 years in prison and joined the ARMY. Before I joined I had no sense of patriotism, didnt care about politics, and didnt give a damn about foriegn affairs. I have rose through the ranks and have gained the trust and respect from my leaders and subordinates alike. I'm proud to be an American and I'm leaving to Afganastan in April to serve the country who gave me a second chance and if I should die in combat, I assure you I will die like a warrior for the greatest country in the world! Yes, I think most ex-felons are dirt bags but if they are willing to put on that uniform, I assure you they are no longer in that prison mentality. Do ex-prisoners make better soldiers....Yes they do!

Anonymous said...

I have always thought that the US military was suppose to instill all these great qualities in its recruits. Certainly I dont think that all felons can be trusted but if they are willing to try and still feel they want to serve their country why not give them a chance. Its not like they dont have laws in the military, so whats the big deal. Most of us felons make one mistake because we didnt have the right guidance or wrong place at the wrong time type shit.
Who is to say that a felon fighting beside you in battle wouldnt be the one to save your ass than the goody two shoes thats had everything given to them there whole life.

Sad to say that the US isnt all about second chances. In fact if you do anything wrong you are branded for life, good luck with even getting a decent job. Well i have a felony, big deal, that makes me who i am which is at least around here better than your non criminal. I havent been in any kind of trouble in going on ten years and i would be the first person to stop what i am doing to help someone.

And you people who dont have felonies dont you dare judge us!!! We are not all one person, we are individuals.