In North Carolina, 1.6 million people have an arrest or conviction that makes it difficult to find stable work. These barriers to employment follow a person long after he or she has served time for past crimes and attempted to start a new life. I know because I am one of those people.
In 2007 I made a poor choice that resulted in a nonviolent felony conviction. At the time I was a well-educated woman who had graduated cum laude from a local university and had never committed a crime. My lawyer had assured me that with my background, the felony, wouldn’t hurt me much. He was wrong.
After the conviction, I immediately lost my career. Over the next nine years, I was continually rejected for positions where I met, and sometimes exceeded, the job qualifications. I experienced homelessness and my credit suffered, but worst of all was the stigma and judgment that followed me everywhere and the assumptions that people made based on one check box on a job application. FULL ARTICLE