It’s official—we are now in what’s being called The Great Recession. And while many people are without jobs, those with a criminal record are at an even greater disadvantage.
Unemployment is high and employers have a much larger pool to choose from when filling what few jobs there are. So, when faced with two candidates of equal skill levels, who do you think they will choose—the one with a clean record, or the one who has a conviction for drug sales or assault?
Ex-offenders have always been at a disadvantage when it comes to getting employment. While many employers claim to be more interested in their skills than their past criminal involvement, the numbers don’t like.
According to The Daily Progress, the American Journal of Sociology published a study in 2003 showing that 34% of white people with a clean record get called after applying for a job while only 17% of those with a conviction do. For blacks it’s even bleaker, with 14% being called with a clean record and only 5% with criminal histories.
While many people argue that once you commit a crime any results are fair punishment, an unemployed ex-convict is far more likely to return to a life of crime than someone who can find a job. In fact, employment is one of the leading indicators of recidivism.
The best advice for those with a criminal record is to be honest about their past but highlight their skills. You will have to stand out from the competition on your abilities because, whether the employer admits it or not, you are automatically at a disadvantage.
The system is designed to punish criminals and then kick them out the door. It is not designed to reintegrate them into society. That responsibility falls on the offender alone.
Whether you already have a criminal record and are looking at additional charges or if this is your first run in with the law—your criminal case can have long standing effects on your life. Drug charges, theft charges, and convictions for violent crimes like assault can all make it difficult to find work and even find a place to live.
Any place that deals with money will not be likely to hire someone who has a theft charge. Just like a service job won’t be too eager to hire someone with violent crimes in their past. The best way to avoid this is to keep the conviction off your record.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation and some valuable legal advice on a Virginia criminal charge.