Unable to make ends meet, an overwhelming majority 89 percent are unemployed at the time of their re-arrest. The stigmas surrounding people with conviction histories systematically exclude them from countless job opportunities , and the current state of affairs shows little sign of improvement. Back in the late 90s, entrepreneur Richard Bronson found himself in a prison cell, wondering how he would turn his life around.
Does Being Convicted of a Crime Bar You From Getting a Job?
A few years following his release, Bronson became the founder and CEO of 70 Million Jobs , the first national employment platform for people with criminal records. To understand more about how 70 Million Jobs came to be, we talk to Bronson about his transition from prison cell to the C-suite. This is his story. Twenty-two months into my sentence the anxiety kicked in. I was sitting on my cot in a federal prison with eight weeks left on my two-year sentence for securities fraud, and my impending freedom made me feel only one thing: dread.
I began working on Wall Street in the early s, and after working at several of the largest investment banks, I made a career pivot into a small brokerage firm on Long Island, Stratton Oakmont. You may know this company better as the infamous Wolf of Wall Street firm. I did so well there I quickly became partner. My ambitions were greater than Stratton Oakmont, and after a year I left to found my own financial services firm.
How to Find a Job With a Criminal Background
I was getting very rich very fast. As portrayed in Wolf of Wall Street, our success came from conducting business the wrong way—the illegal way. I was guilty of securities fraud. So, despite having paid everyone back, I was still—rightfully—punished with a prison sentence. I came out of prison destitute and nearly homeless—thank God for a sister and her couch.
I wanted to put the past behind me and live an honest, productive life. However, accomplishing this proved more daunting than I ever expected.
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Over the next several years I went from one bad situation to another. I thought I fully learned the lesson of humility, having scrubbed toilets for hundreds of inmates, but class had just begun.
I eventually ended up working at Defy Ventures , a prominent non-profit in the reentry space. I loved the opportunity to help my brothers and sisters as they struggled with their transition to freedom. It was deeply rewarding work—very good for my karma—but over time I became convinced that reentry was ready for disruption, specifically with a for-profit approach.
So I launched 70 Million Jobs , not knowing if large, national employers would be willing to pay to access our large community of job seekers. The real heroes are our job seekers. For the simple fact that they have few alternatives, they know they have to perform well to retain their job.
So whether this affects you or a friend or sister or cousin, there are people out there that want to help! We spoke to a load of experts, recruitment consultants and campaigners to find out the best way to go about it. Get a job, and prove yourself.
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Unlock helps people with convictions to move on in their lives, one of these being helping them into employment. You need to learn this stuff. The hard bit some might say.
I Have a Criminal Record. How Can I Get a Job? – Adzuna's Blog
We do try and guide people through what decision is best for them, and sometimes this is the right one. It is important to talk about life now, and how different it is to how it was when the offence was committed. Demonstrating motivation, for example a desire to provide for themselves or a family or set an example to peers, and looking to the future is important.
Find out exactly what your criminal record says and what you need to tell an employer and then practise it. Write it down and talk it through with someone you trust and respect. Get yourself comfortable with sharing your story in a way that sounds like you. In my experience, ex-offenders with the right attitude often manage to secure work after proving themselves through an initial work placement. Probed about your private life?