Thursday, September 06, 2007

Crime Increases as a Result of Employment Denial to Ex-Felons

Here's an odd but interesting press release issued yesterday from a security camera surveillance company based in Houston promoting the idea that "Crime Increases as a Result of Employment Denial to Ex-Felons":
In 1986 Leon Pena was sentenced to 7 years in the Texas department of criminal justice for delivery of a controlled substance less 28 grams. It was his first offence; no priors. Since Leon Pena didn’t snitch, he was not offered probation. Leon has since been released some 27 years ago.

He has worked 70 hours and got paid for 40 hours, and he has been escorted out of job interviews by security officials. Even after he received an associate degree in Information Technology and passed his A certification and Network , Leon is still denied employment.

Crime is a problem across the country due to the growing numbers of felons who are released into society and are denied employment because of their criminal records. Most, if not all felons, are denied employment for the rest of their lives. Non–violent first time felons are also denied employment, and some of them have no choice but to become career criminals who commit violent crimes in order to provide for their families.

With no laws protecting this kind of discrimination in the work place, crimes committed by career criminals continue to rise. Tax payers are left to pay for crime by purchasing expensive alarm systems with security cameras. Tax payers also pay for crime when repeat offenders are caught and sent back to jail. “It sometimes cost the tax payer about $40 to $50 dollars a day to house a criminal,” explains Leon Pena of Security Camera Services.

Solutions: make a discrimination law to protect non-violent felons from discrimination in the work place. Give ex-felons 7 years of grace from the time a felony was committed. If an ex-felon does not commit another felony within those 7 years, seal their criminal record from the public.
IMO he's dead-on right - I can hardly think of a more counterproductive, crime generating policy than barring ex-felons from future employment, but hundreds of jobs are formally barred to felons in Texas, and many other employees discriminate against these workers of their own accord.

A security camera company seems like an odd source for a proposal to expunge criminal records for nonviolent felons, but it sounds like Mr. Pena has firsthand experience in that matter. Bully for him for using his security company to promote policies that increase public safety instead of just profit from it. That's nice to see, don't you think?

45 comments:

TJDO said...

It's part of crime and the life-course. Studies have continuoulsy shown this to be true. It's very unfortunate that we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Any felon who has worked within the system to become a productive citizen and has demonstrated a willingness to be prosocial and to work as a member of society instead of against society needs this opportunity to have his/her record sealed.

Many first time violent offenders deserve a similar chance as the non-violent first time offenders. Perhaps five years for non-violent offenders and ten for violent offenders. The idea that once a person commits a crime he/she is branded for life is worse than archaic and primitive and is as brutal as the mutilation penalties in other countries.

I personally believe that the only throw away people in the world are politicians. There should be a lifetime penalty on them getting employment.

JSN said...

Arrests are also used to reject potential employees and it does not take much to be charged with a felony (violation of a child custody agreement is a felony in Iowa).

Professional schools will not admit applicants with a criminal records and some colleges are doing criminal record checks on entering freshmen. A man who had been a barber in prison was given a license in error and was supporting himself as a barber after he was released. The county attorney forced him to be fired and he is now unemployed and on disability and a productive taxpayer is now a lability. I guess that qualifies as shooting ourselves in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Laws that restrict employment of ex-felons are creating an underclass in the U.S. The size and expense of the criminal justice system is huge. The creation of an underclass for ex-felons ensures the size and expense of the welfare system will also remain huge.

Ex-felons in Texas have the right to vote for more public safety and less incareceraton/welfare. The real problem is finding a politician that is truly opposed to wasted money spent prisons and welfare receipients.

Most voters just want their representation to make sure the criminals and from reading Grits everyday!
welfare receipients don't live in their neighborhood.

Most voters could benefit

Anonymous said...

The last paragraphs should read:

Most voters just want their representation to make sure the criminals and welfare receipients don't live in their neighborhood.

Most voters could benefit from reading Grits everyday!

sunray's wench said...

We have a law here, where if you are still under a sentence (being on probation or parole or whatever) then you must declare it on the job application form (if it asks you to, some dont). The potential employer is then not allowed by law to discriminate on THAT ISSUE alone, there must be a second reason why they cannot consider the person for the job. If you have been discharged from your sentence (finished it) then you do not have to disclose it except for a very few offences.

We really dont have the same attitute here to ex-cons as you guys do over there.

AJ said...

Interesting article. I've often wondered what society expects these offenders to do once they've served their sentences. Are employers checking criminal records to protect their own liability in cases where the offender would work with the public?

Anonymous said...

Then you have a felon that has gone through restitution, rehabilitation, probation together with working two jobs to repay his debt to society that was a role model at TYC that gets fired due to the recent policy change. A non-violent staff that did not work directly with the students that has been terminated on a "witch-hunt" for sexual violations of the incarcerated youth by staff that had nothing to do with his job and the fact that this person was a productive, reliable and long-term valuable TYC staff. The promotions of Brookins while under investigations was approved by HR in CO. The executives terminated were not the only ones to blame. Each case should have been evaluated based upon employment records instead of blanketed by a publicity stunt to gain public approval that hasn't happened. Rehabilitated ex-felons can reach troubled youth in a way many are unable to accomplish. Ask the volunteers that made their statements that were reinstated.

JT Barrie said...

The real problem is that we have a surplus of skilled labor for the jobs that businesses want to fill with higher paid US workers. We absolutely don't have anything close to a labor shortage for skilled jobs. But ex felons aren't the only people suffering from discrimination. Older people and those with loads of experience [demanding higher wages] are also shut out. Meanwhile our infrastructure is falling apart and we desperately need to clean up our environment - but we spend trillions on waging war against poor people both in this country and abroad. Is something out of whack or what?

steve said...

I'm real big on fairness, and trying to do the right thing as often as I can for people. I also grew up on Houston's inner north side. Quite a few people that I went to school with and grew up with in my neighborhood ended up in prison, or dead. However, I manage to escape that hellhole and make a good life for myself and my family. Since then, I've spent many years as a businessman, and I have been in the position to have ex-cons on the payroll. I grew up with them, I went to school with them, I have hired them, and I have worked with them. Although there are a few exceptions to this rule, it has been my experience that once a con, always a con.

Quite often you'll hear the counterargument that once someone has "paid their debt to society" then they should be treated equally as someone who never committed a crime serious enough to be incarcerated. The problem with this is that today, they really don't pay their debt to society. They get put on probation, or they get paroled early, or even if they actually do serve their "time" it usually only amounts to about 29 days for every one year of sentence. I don't consider this to be "paying their debt."

Also, once a criminal goes to prison, they are exposed to a certain mindset. They are immersed in crime because they are surrounded by criminals. They don't spend much time thinking about how they are going to get out and be nice, productive citizens. They are surrounded by other criminals who spend all day talking about and thinking about how to better hone their skills as criminals. After a while, they don't think of their criminal act as something wrong. Why should they? Nobody else they come in contact with in prison thinks this way. They begin to believe that the only mistake they made was getting caught. Now, you may be asking how someone could actually be foolish enough to think that committing a crime is OK. To answer your question, all you have to do is keep in mind that a very high percentage of the incarcerated would fall under the umbrella of special education if they were still in school. I am in close contact with a few people who work in the system, and the unofficial number of special-education students in TYC alone is about 50 percent. Compound that with the fact that most all people are always looking for the easy way out. Making the easy buck is something people always remember. I can't ever recall an ex-con who could tell me exactly what their paycheck was one month ago. However, I'll wager every single one of them can remember exactly how much money they made on the drug deal or the stolen car that landed them in prison 10 years ago.

I think many ex-cons could be productive citizens if you could somehow break the criminal mindset they develop. However, taking them right out of prison and merely putting them to work, heaping all sorts of trust and responsibility upon them is not gonna make it happen. You would be surprised at how many of them enjoy the criminal lifestyle. They like it. To them, it's normal. If you think they must be insane to believe this, or at least a few bricks a short of a full load, just remember who these people really are and how they ended up being criminals in the first place.

Catonya said...

Big kudos to Pena for pushing a great idea.

A few weeks ago I learned charges resulting in deferred adjudicated sentences are no longer eligible for expungement. In the end, the case against a defendant is dismissed, but the felony charge remains on record.

"You might beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride."

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Steve, your comments might be more convincing if you could make just a few more sweeping assumptions about "these people" without evidence or foundation. Every one of your statements certainly applies to some ex-cons but not to many others. Sweeping negative assumptions made about thousands of people, when translated into policy, inevitably impact many who don't deserve it and who exceed your quite-low expectations.

Besides, if they can't work when they get out, what would you have them do?

Anonymous said...

Hey Grits,
Thanks for this bit of interesting reading. I can’t help but wonder if Senator Dutton or any of the other members of the ledge that have “indiscretions” with the law would be interested in reading this? Maybe Ed Owens, D. Pope, Will Harrell? I know this is beating a dead horse because as the spouse of one of the “ousted felons from TYC” it makes no difference how you have turned your life around if you don’t have “Low friends in High places”. My husband started out as a YAS in TYC in 1995. Since that time he worked full time for them and put himself through school earning an Associates degree in Mental Health, his License in Chemical Dependency Counseling and his Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice/Psychology. He worked his way up to Director of Security in 2001. He was called upon to respond with his S.T.A.R. team to Evins, Giddings, San Saba, etc. to restore order at these facilities. He was praised by Dwight Harris the Executive Director of TYC for doing such a fine job. UNTIL… he tried to promote and Mr. Harris was informed about his past felony record. (17 years ago and with an early release from probation) From that point on, my husband was not allowed to promote. He even has a letter stating that he would no longer be able to interview for any positions that would be considered a promotion from the position he held. He was no longer asked to respond with his S.T.A.R. team when it deployed. Then the final wound came April 2, 2007 when he received his letter of “Suspension pending Termination”. As of July 2, 2007 he received a letter stating that he was being terminated due to policy changes in employment and not due to his work history. Now if any “potential” employer calls for a reference from TYC and ask if he would be considered for rehire the are told “NO” with no other explanations included. This is a great REWARD for someone with an excellent work history that had over 600 hours of sick time built up because he never stayed home from work. TYC had been informed of his felony record at his original hire in and at EVERY promotion he had. I have worked in legal circles and the general public would be surprised at the “things” that can get swept under the rug if you know the right people. It is a shame that our lawmakers treat people with felony records as if they are something that needs to be scraped off of their shoes. How dare the “dirty ol felons” turn their lives around and try to better themselves? How can our lawmakers spend millions of dollars on rehabilitation and not believe in what they are doing? Until our lawmakers can finally open their eyes and see that “there but for the grace of God go I” they will continue allowing their very ignorance to guide them in their decisions.
Grace Under Fire

Anonymous said...

Steve, there are a lot if lazy incompetent people around. You are confusing a criminal history with a personality type.

We could all benefit by a clearer distinction between cause and effect. In fact being in prison has a maturing effect on many people and they don't deserve to be discriminated against in the employment decision.

Perhaps you work a little too hard finding facts to fit your point of view that a criminal mindset never changes.

steve said...

Well, no doubt for what it's worth, I am speaking from first hand experience. And, as I pointed out, there are exceptions to what I described. However, I think if you look at the recidivism rate, you could easily see that what I described fits most of them. (The recidivism rate in TYC alone is over 50 percent.) And, you must also consider that there are many active criminals out there who don't get caught. Although carreer criminals might get caught once, the more they practice their trade, the better they become at not getting caught. And, considering the state of the criminal justice system today, it is usually only the dullest knives in the drawer that get culled.

What I would have them do? It's beyond me. The bottom line is that you're going to have to convince them that a life of crime is not something they want to indulge in. That is going to be a tough sell to someone who has spent time in jail listening to how "successful" their cell mates were at committing crimes. You're going to have to convince them that starting at the bottom rung of the ladder below everyone else, and working hard to get caught up with the standards enjoyed by the members of law abiding society, is something that they should want to do. I think it is too late for many of them. They're not going to want to invest the effort. I have spent endless hours talking with ex-cons. I have spent many sessions sitting across the table from youth with criminal histories. I can tell you that one common thread they all have, is that they tend to be very impulsive with their thinking. They can't see the long-term. The thought and details of actually working toward long-term life goals is incomprehensible to most of them. They can only deal with the here and now. That is why a life of crime appeals to them. If they are successful, it's a quick reward. I think a big key to rehabilitating a criminal is to teach them to not think and act impulsively, and teach them that patience is a virtue, and that taking the time to think carefully through something is a practice that is rewarded a hundredfold in the future. I think this impulsive trait is very much related to a lack of education. I think that education is a big key in creating productive citizens and reducing the prison population.

What I'm trying to say is that you can't take most of these people and immediately insert them back into society and think they are going to be OK. They're not. That's why halfway houses offer some amount of success. However, it's going to take a heck of a lot more "rehabilitation" than we are currently giving them. And, no matter what we do, many of these criminals will still be a menace to society.

Anonymous said...

JOH 8:3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
I think this story about Jesus and the lawyers from the New Testament has a lot to say on this subject. Have you read this Bible verse before and wondered what Jesus wrote in the dirt? Many Biblical scholars believe Jesus was listing the personal sins of those who would stone the woman. In the end none were without sin and able to cast the first stone. In the highly criminalized society we live in today I have no doubt the vast majority of adults have committed a crime during their life time. Ever fudge on your taxes? Tax evasion is a serious Federal crime! Ever have a few beers and drive a car? Just like the fellows who wanted to stone the woman you got away with your crime. Many people have no doubt broken laws and were totally unaware in our criminalized society. Go to Texas statutes on line to see how many laws we have in Texas. Check out the Federal statutes and you will be shocked at the volumes of laws there are for you to break.
I think Jesus was telling the group no to be so proud of themselves because they were over looking their own short comings. Jesus also taught us to forgive others so we can be forgiven. Our sin in this area has cost us dearly. Some may object to me using a criminal like Jesus who was executed by the government of his day for a Capital Crime. Sorry a Capital Offender was all I could come up with to quote!

By - FTM

sunray's wench said...

Steve ~ where is this place that lets inmates do 29 days for each year of their sentence, and can someone send my hubby there please?

I actually agree with what you said in your second post more than your first. There is NO rehab in TDCJ, not even any 'corrections' because the 'C' stands for Criminal, and when the numbers of COs being walked off units and breaking the law is so high, who exactly can we trust to teach our guys (and girls) that breaking the law is not OK?

There are limited substance abuse programmes and a handful of religious programmes, yet nothing that actually makes these guys any nicer to live next door to. Could we start seeing that way maybe ~ not that these inmates are getting hand-outs or a free ride, but that Joe Public would rather live next door to someone who had been shown that crime is a bad idea, not someone who has been shown more ways to comit it?

Anonymous said...

"Crime Increases as a Result of Employment Denial to Ex-Felons"

Wow, what a revelation! Don’t let someone earn a living and they will resort to crime. I would have never thought of that outcome. Remember if you start letting ex-cons get a job the prison industry might be in trouble. What would we do with a bunch of empty prisons? There would be a glut of unused tax money which would create all kinds of problems. Texas might even start some meaningful social programs to burn off the surplus cash. I know taxes would never go down!

Catonya said...

re: Steve's comment

"You're going to have to convince them that starting at the bottom rung of the ladder below everyone else, and working hard to get caught up..."

"keep in mind that a very high percentage of the incarcerated would fall under the umbrella of special education if they were still in school."


Exactly - most of the "felons" in question don't have the skills or education to start anywhere but the bottom rung.

The point is if you deny access to the bottom rung, how would you propose they begin building a life as a productive member of society?

Rambo said...

Steve:

I hear you, but your comment that "there are exceptions" does not counter your generalization.

I am an ex-felon with over 16 years free from alcohol, drugs, and crime. For a person to change, they have to WANT to change. For me, that took hitting rock bottom.

I have more than paid my debt to society. I devoted over 12 years of my life to TYC, and helped many of our troubled youth become success stories. Change requires an honest look at one's value systems, and determination to work hard. YOU can't break the criminal mindset. The offender is the only one who can do that, and is fully responsible for it.

I EARNED my college degrees and my LCDC, so that I could work with TYC in its mission. I'm still paying for those degrees, but because of the ledge's attitude (which IMO is quite similar to yours) toward "criminals," I am no longer employed there.

Are you sure that you aren't really Whitmire, Pena, or one of the others? You sure sound like them.

Rambo

steve said...

Sunray's wench said:
"Steve ~ where is this place that lets inmates do 29 days for each year of their sentence, and can someone send my hubby there please?"

This is the number always proffered in regard to the average actual time served vs length of original sentence. I've been hearing it for years.

steve said...

catonya said:
"The point is if you deny access to the bottom rung, how would you propose they begin building a life as a productive member of society?"

But, they aren't always denied access to the bottm rung. Many busnesses hire people with criminal records. I used to hire people with criminal records. But, like a lot of people, they don't want to work in low-wage jobs. Some will. But, more times than not, I used to hear the excuse: "Why should I work for you making squat when I can make more money selling drugs?"

Heck, my kids could make more money selling drugs than they could working the jobs that they did. Why do you think they didn't decide to just sell drugs? (Hint: It wasn't because of money.)

steve said...

rambo said:
"I hear you, but your comment that "there are exceptions" does not counter your generalization."

Of course it does. It's true. As an example, just look at the recidivism rate of an institution you are familiar with (TYC.) And, add to that the fact that a good number of offenders are only apprehended after they have committed multiple offfenses.

However, you fit in that category of a few that decided to do the right thing. As such, I applaud you for doing so, even though it was a hard road to follow.

If you are who I think you are, we have mutual acquaintances. I thought you had a good case to pursue a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Did you speak to any lawyers?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Steve, that 29 days per year sounds like an urban myth; it's not true in Texas by a longshot.

FWIW, TYC has about a 50% three year recidivism rate (I'm recollecing without a source, somebody correct me if I'm wrong), which means 50% DON'T recidivate by then. For TDJC the recidivism number is even lower. It's easy to point to the screwups because the ones who do right don't make the papers, but it's unwise to generalize from those examples. best,

Anonymous said...

Steve it sounds to me your generalizations should carry more weight than controlled studies which deal in fact in your mind. At TYC we would say you are jumping to conclusions. For the record that is Thinking Error number 6. Sounds like you may need some rehabilitation. What are you hiding in your past that causes you to react so strongly to this topic? Steve have you been the victim of a crime which left deep wounds? I am concerned about your reactive nature. If by chance I am right you need to seek professional help for your own well being and those around you. If I am wrong then forget I mentioned this.

By - FTM

Anonymous said...

Dear Grace Under Fire:

We must have come from the same TYC facility. In the name of rehabilitation, what is wrong with this picture? Excellent role model staff have been discarded without any recourse. Thank you for "blogging" so well!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Can someone please name all the Thinking Errors, in order? :)

Anonymous said...

The notion that felons and ex-cons can't find jobs has more to do with economics than discrimination. Thanks to George W., payroll is down, interest rates are up, and there are no more hassle free mortgages. The bottom line is that with all things being equal, the job offer goes to the guy with no criminal record. When the economy is booming and demand for labor exceeds labor supply, the criminal record somehow seems less important.

Rambo said...

Steve:

I probably am who you think I am. Who are you?

And to answer your question, yes, but no luck so far.

steve said...

gritsforbreakfast said:
"Steve, that 29 days per year sounds like an urban myth; it's not true in Texas by a longshot."

Taken into account that depending upon jurisdiction, location, and jail poulation conditions, some offenders do serve most if not all of their sentences.
However, I did find some numbers on texasdefenselaw.com:
- - -
The capital murder defendant sentenced to life in prison before September 1, 2005, is parole eligible after serving just forty years.

For the next group of legislatively designated serious offenses like murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated robbery, the defendant must generally serve at least half of the actual sentence to be parole eligible.

For other first, second and third degree felonies, the prisoner is parole eligible when calendar time plus good conduct time equals one-fourth of the sentence. Good conduct time is earned by participating in work and self-improvement programs.

Time served for misdemeanors in Texas varies by county. In Harris County, misdemeanor defendants usually get two days credit for one day served. In counties with more crowded jails, a defendant may get three days credit for each day served.
- - -

So, my statement of 29 days credit for one year served is way off from these numbers. However, I'll still be looking for a source since I have heard this claim for many years. Be that as it may, these numbers themselves definitely indicate that many sentenced offenders get to walk early - sometimes very early - without serving their full time.

gritsforbreakfast also said:
"FWIW, TYC has about a 50% three year recidivism rate (I'm recollecing without a source, somebody correct me if I'm wrong), which means 50% DON'T recidivate by then."

I think this is accurate. But, I've seen some sources that cite an over 50% lifetime return rate. Also, what happens after 3 years? Even though we would hope that if they can make it this long without re-entering the system they are "rehabilitated," I believe in reality this is a bit naive. Just because they haven't been caught again, doesn't mean they aren't out there committing crimes. It would appear that a great many are repeat offenders, depending upon the crime. I'm seeing numbers on the web of around 40 percent for drug offenders. And, most of the 8,000+ child molesters in Texas are repeat offenders.

But, to keep from straying off topic, I believe that you just can't turn these people loose back into society without a great deal of intervention, including education. As "rambo" pointed out, the crinimal mindset has to be broken, and they have to be the ones to make the decision to break it. I think the way to accomplish this is through education, and teaching them how to think critically, and to develop and pursue long-term goals. Obviously though, you aren't going to be able to help everyone.

steve said...

Anonymous said:
". .I am concerned about your reactive nature. If by chance I am right you need to seek professional help for your own well being and those around you. If I am wrong then forget I mentioned this."

Not a problem. I'm always in need of professional help in one way or another. Why be normal?

steve said...

rambo said:
"I probably am who you think I am. Who are you?

And to answer your question, yes, but no luck so far."

I may be in a good position to have a positive effect on the TYC situation right now. I know a few people in some influential positions, and I'm close enough to a few insiders to know what's going on, but far enough away not to arouse any suspicion.

I would be interested to know how your search for an atty is progressing. Although, I don't know anything about your case other than what I have heard secondhand. I would be interested in what the attorneys you have contacted so far have told you. Finding the right atty can be like finding the right auto mechanic or the right carpenter. I might have a couple of names that you might want to call if you have a good case and you're still having trouble finding an atty.

Rambo said...

STEVE,
You never answered, Who are you? And how would I reach you if I were so inclined?

Catonya said...

Just got back to my computer. This turned into a great discussion.

steve said...

rambo said:
"You never answered, Who are you? And how would I reach you if I were so inclined?"

Email me at:

yrrah_ytrid@hotmail.com

. .and I will get back to you with a phone number.

Rambo said...

Steve:

Done.

Anonymous said...

Great discussion. Inside every "tough on crime" Texas there is the potential for the soul of a human being.

Education, critical thinking and religion are all tools that help with reintegrating an offender back into society.

Rehabilitation must be a part of the criminal justice system. The "lock em up and throw away the key" model cannot be replaced fast enough to suit me.

TDCJ says recidivism is 28% and they are proud of it. This pride doesn't give credit to the 72% don't go back to prison. If these folks could get a job, it would reduce recidivism even further.

sunray's wench said...

Steve ~ buy your own research you now know that 29 days for each year of the sentence is not true, no matter how many times you've heard before that it was. This makes me wonder exactly how many other everyday Texans believe the same things, with absolutely no concrete facts to prove them?

There has to be a critical point, where the number of ex-cons exceeds the number of non-offenders, and Texas must surely be fast approaching it. What will you do then?

Anonymous said...

Actually within the last 20 years most inmates were doing one month for each year sentenced.

I cannot believe you all don't remember the "reasons" for the huge Texas prison expansion. We were letting the criminals out the back door just to make room for those coming in the front door.

The Lege heard the cry of the public and mothers against drunk driving, and built many more Texas prisons. Unfortunately they failed to hear the cries of the working TDC Administrators, concerning logistics and personnel.

Restoring lost good time was no longer allowed and the criminals were staying longer.

TDCJ is still broken and the Lege has shifted their focus on TYC. "Build more TYC FACILITIES!" was their edict and it was done!

Fast forward to today; TDCJ and TYC are broken. Severe staff shortages, under-funding, lack of leadership (with a few exceptions), lack of programs, lack of proper lege support.

The good news is the Lege is not in session; the bad news is the lege is not in session.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time [and all that comes along with it].

Grace Under Fire said...

Anonymous 1:45
I hope that you never have kids or any other loved one that might have been at the wrong place at the wrong time or ever made a bad judgment call that cost them any type of trouble with the law. Your asinine statement will surely come back to bite you in the butt.

steve said...

anonymous said:
"Actually within the last 20 years most inmates were doing one month for each year sentenced."

I know I used to hear that from many different sources. Most of them were before the internet became a household word. Maybe that's why I can no longer find them.

Rosalea Moore said...

I agree that barring ex-convicts from employment only adds to the rise in crime rate.

Anonymous said...

I am from California, but have been researching the internet for a couple years about anything which would give ex-felons civil rights guaranteed like other minorities have. I was a high school teacher and coach who was arrested and convicted for sales of a controlled substance in 1983. I spent 19 months incarcerated in the Department of Corrections and was paroled in December of 1978. I went on to become a licensed painting contractor in 1991, then appeared before the same Judge who presided over my trial and was granted a Certificate of Rehabililation in 1998. I was now in a position where I could not be denied gainful employment based soley on my felony conviction. A few years later, I requested the California Commission on Teaching Credentials to have my credential re-instated and was granted my request in February of 1998. I was then hired by the county office of education to work with serious at risk kids from all over the state. I was a very successful teacher until a serious incident in my class room caused me to have repressed memories from my incarceration dominate my life. I retired after 7 years of teaching due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Getting my credential re-instated defied tremendous odds and to have my past as an incarcerated inmate interfer with my life was devasting. A couple years later,I was asked by a group of parents, many my former students, if I would be interested in helping coach their daughters on the high school varsity softball team. A week later, I was granted permission to work with the varsity softball team. It was awesome, great and a miracle! About 5 weeks later, my past came back to haunt me once again. The athletic director informed me that I would not be allowed to work with the team, beginning immediately. I was told to stay off campus and wasn't given the opportunity to say good bye to my 'girls'! I have been cleared by the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice, but the district has their own investigation for me. I have been stone-walled in my attempt to get answers from the high school and the District office. The first statement I got out of the principal was that he decided to go in a different direction. I said is that direction backwards because the team I had observed were improving rapidly, played the way a team should, and had the parents extremely impressed with how much progress had been made in such a short period of time! A few months later, I applied for a teaching and coaching position and later found out that I was the only person qualified for the posted posiions. Regardless, I was not called for an interview and later found out that only the teaching position was filled. I was told they decided to separate the positions and search for a walk on coach later. The only reason they split the positions was so I couldn't have a legal challenge of the hiring process since I was the only person who filled the requirements for the job search. The coaching position was for the varsity baseball and once again, I was the most qualified applicant but was not granted an interview for the position. I was told a week later that a conversation between the Atletic Director and Principal, the A.D. stated, "It is ironic that Barnett is the most qualified candidate!" The real ironic thing is, it has been a quarter of a century since my arrest, (25 years and 4 months), and I am still being discriminated against! This brings me to my main reason for this blog,I would like to do something for my fellow ex-felons. I want a civil rights law where we are granted the same rights as other minorities covered in the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Title VII! I am sure that there is a few million of us who just keep having the door shut in our faces. We are a minority in the ratio of the total population. We can't count on society to one day wake up with a different attitude and sympathy for this cause which would allow us to be even more productive citizens. I am looking for a lawyer who would help with my cause. I want to go to Congress in Washington for legislation reform. The old adage, "A rotten apple spoils the barrel" should not be the train of thought when considering reform for the millions of ex-felons who are good, law abiding, tax paying citizens who are trying to raise their families the best they can! I am praying that some how, some way, this message will open doors for this worth while leqal fight! If their is someone who wants to help, please post a blog here and we can arrange how to get in touch! Thank You James

Anonymous said...

I have a drug related felony that is over 9 yrs old now, never did any time jus straight probation. I abided by all rules,regulations and all that was asked of me at that time. Yet, here now years later this one mistake has hindered me in every aspect of my life. I pay my taxes, abide by all laws of our land, and had a great career till I recently found out I have a spine condtion that has hindered my profession. Now I am unemployed, considered disabled, and a felony...I AM still able to work yet the jobs I can physically do will not hire me due to the felony. Been reduced to living in a travel trailer. What am I to do? I have no desire to sit here and just waste my life away at some pointless job knowing I have no future. Any ideas, would gladly be appreciated. I am not one to lay down and just let the world run me over, I have a fighting spirit,loyal and proud of that I do in my work.