LETTER: Where is the support for the rehabilitated?

May. 09, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

What is the typical opinion in our society today about the rehabilitation of people who have been convicted of a crime? Our society seems to suggest that rehabilitation is the goal of our prisons, our probation officers and others in that field, but does society really support the rehabilitated?

I personally have witnessed a person who had a felony conviction more than a decade ago, did his time and underwent a complete transformation of his life. This person returned to school and will graduate with an associate’s degree and has received other certificates while obtaining this degree. He is determined to live a respectable life and be a productive member of society, but yet no one is willing to give him this chance.

Other people in his class are getting jobs, but although he has been an exemplary student, he has yet to get a job. He has a perfect resume, great interview skills and referrals from numerous instructors. The interviewer shows interest, but then it goes to human resources, and it is all over with. He has even been so far as to pass the drug test and be told that he is basically in the door, then the criminal record appears and they can’t see past the paper to the man. I would think that any crime over 10 years old should not be considered, but that is not the case.

I’m not sure what will happen when it leads to his homelessness or starvation. Will he then see an opportunity to make some money on the dark side and take it? Where will he hang his diploma and certificates, on his shopping cart when he’s homeless? There has got to be someone out there willing to support those that are rehabilitated, or at least to establish guidelines.

I just don’t understand how a society that speaks about rehabilitation does not support rehabilitation. This problem can affect anyone, regardless of race, sex or social status. People go through this every day, people make bad choices and it seems that with society the way it is today, there is no going back.

Susan Diggs