Do Felons Deserve a Second Chance, Obama Thinks So [Reader Post]

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Should convicted felons be given a second chance? Barack Obama thinks so, and he thinks the tax payers should have to foot the bill. He made his view on this issue more than evident during a town hall meeting in Elyria, Ohio on January 22nd. Here is a excerpt from this Ohio town hall meeting, where a 29 year old felon who has never had a job in his life asks Obama if he will help felons get a job.

Jerome the felon asks Obama:

“I’m 29 years old, and I’ve never had a job in my life. I went to jail when I was younger. It’s like hard to get a job as a felon. Is this — any programs that hire people with felonies like something that — because it’s sad, it’s like — 29 years old, I’m 29.”

Obama Answers Jerome:

“Look, I’m proud of the fact that you’re bringing this up because there are people who’ve made mistakes, particularly when they’re young, and it is in all of our interests to help them redeem themselves and then get on a straight path. Now, I don’t blame employers obviously for being nervous about hiring somebody who has a record. It’s natural if they’ve got a lot of applicants for every single job that that’s a question that they’d have in their minds. On the other hand, I think one of the great things about America is we give people second chances.

And so what we’ve tried to do — and I want to say, this has been a bipartisan effort — when I was in the Senate, working with Sam Brownback; my Vice President, Joe Biden — passing a Second Chance Act that helps to fund programs that help the reintegration of ex-felons.

It’s smart for us to do. You know, sometimes people say, well, that’s just coddling people. No; you reduce the recidivism rate, they pay taxes, it ends up being smart for taxpayers to do.”

Shame on Jerome, if he really wanted a job he could get one. He is playing the victim card. In reality he is only a victim of his own bad decisions. Taxpayers already pay for convicts to be in prison, now Obama wants us to pay to get them a job? Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone(well, almost everyone) deserves a second chance, but it is not the responsibility of everyone else to provide that second chance.

Now before you start sending me nasty emails saying “you are stupid, and you just don’t understand how hard it is for felons to get a job.” Please allow me to stray from the beaten path for a moment and tell you a bit about my own experience.

I am a convicted felon. Five felonies to be exact. I spent the later part of my teenage years (15-19 years old) as a drug addict. Between ages 18 – 19, I lived out of the back of an Oldsmobile, and skipped around from job to job (i kept getting fired for some odd reason, hmm) to raise money for my heroin habit. I continued this pattern of living until I was finally arrested, charged with 9 felonies, convicted of 5 felonies, and sentenced to 1 year and 2 months in prison. One day, as I was sitting in my cell, I thought to myself, “this isn’t the life I want. I want something better, and I’m going to get.” So I made a plan for what I was going to do when I got out, and I decided to use my time in there wisely by educating myself. I started studying college algebra, then moved on to calculus and finally computer science. I also applied for college while I was in prison, so I could attend as soon as I got out. My release day came, and guess what, I went out and got a job flipping burgers the next day.

I worked the early shift at my new job . Public buses didn’t run that early in the morning(in VA, if you receive a felony conviction you lose your license), so I walked to work, 5 miles, every morning. When my shift was over, I hoped on a bus, and went to the local community college to take a couple of classes. When I got out of class the buses weren’t running so I walked home, 4 miles, every night. This process repeated everyday for 9 months until I finally saved up enough money to pay off all of my court costs, and go through all of the red tape required to get my license back. When I finally got my license and my car back, I went out searching for a new, better job. I found 2 jobs. Who would have thought that a convict could get 2 jobs (Jerome couldn’t seem to find 1 in 29 years). I met a wonderful girl at one of these jobs, and we eventually got hitched! Fast forward 4 years and I am happily married, the proud owner of a brand new home, 6.5 years sober, have a good job, and I am almost done with a bachelors degree in computer science (I pay my own way through school, so I only take as many classes as I can afford).

I told you this story to tell you this. I know it is hard to get a job if you are a felon. I do understand. However, if you are a felon, you are not a victim of society, you are a victim of your actions. It is not the responsibility of tax payers to provide you with a second, it is your responsibility. In the United States there are infinite possibilities for a second chance, but you have to go out and get it. It will not come to you. Don’t let your criminal record hold you back, use it as a lesson in life. If you work hard, pursue your dreams, and strive to be a good citizen, good things will happen. That is the beauty of liberty and freedom, you have every opportunity to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get on the right track in life. How could you not love a country that has allowed a drug addicted, homeless convict to become a sober, homeowner, with a beautiful wife, and lives the American dream everyday. God Bless America!

Crossposted from Liberty and Pride

879 Responses to “Do Felons Deserve a Second Chance, Obama Thinks So [Reader Post]”

  1. 851

    Randy

    @tacco: guess you are right. I hired felons to give them a chance. They disappointed me by reverting to the behavior they decided to follow in their life. So, I guess this completes this post. The moral of this story is to not give felons a chance.

  2. 852

    chelle360

    @Randy:

    You are blaming all felons for your personal experience with a few people that’s not fair I’m sure you have hired people who are not felons and they have also disappointed you so keep that to yourself your comments make it bad for other people.

  3. 853

    Randy

    You really don’t get do you. Felons didn’t make a mistake. They just got caught. How many times did the commit a felony with out being caught? Felons chose to commit the crime. Now you want them to get another chance to commit another felony, right?

  4. 854

    me

    @Randy:

    I’m sorry but I believe you may be the one who doesn’t understand. While yes there are many bad ppl in the world whom really don’t deserve much our criminal justice systems primary goal is making money and they do so mostly off the backs of those who can’t afford proper representation in that system. Felonies make more money than misdemeanors. Now with that said you also need to realize the amount of ppl whom have no record or just petty offenses and know that a great majority of those people have committed at least one felony and countless other crimes that would land someone in jail but were never caught. I’m talking doctors lawyers police business managers people you trust and respect everyday of your life. I can’t give you a number but it’s probably a fairly large percentage. Being a non criminal felon lands you between normal society and the fringe. When you are in that position you wouldn’t believe the things ppl will tell you about themselves especially crimes they never got caught for. Those examples I gave I can give numerous stories from numerous people in those positions among others and I’m just one person who has only met so many people in the world. See you live in a world hidden from you as you are one of those who make sure you look good to your peers they do the same with you. You won’t get those stories as its assumed you can’t relate or would possibly be offended.
    Finally going back to our broken system you can speak with different generations and you will find those growing up in the 50s-70s maybe into the 80s who have done the same things as those of us from the 90s on and see a great contrast on how we have been handled by the system and the detriment that mistakes of youth have had on the younger generations. Background checks everywhere is also new so that kills opportunity to do anything with life after being labelled. In about 30-50 yrs I think things will change as the older generation who is out of touch starts to die off and the younger ages then the majority will be more understanding.

  5. 855

    me

    @me:

    Sorry didn’t make one observation clear. At one time when speaking of first offenses many would be given an opportunity to not end up with a record despite the crime with the exception of crimes that actually hurt somekne. That is no longer an option in all but the smallest of communities and even then it’s a rare occurence. It used to be the norm. Your not even asked to explain yourself and asked much at all. It’s simply what’s the plea….not guilty at first otherwise you wave rights and judge sentences you right then and there then you may go bavk several time until your attorney finally says ok here’s the deal from states attorney you don’t have any choice in the matter so you take the offer then you have to go in front of the judge and the system actually forces you to lie at this point and swear to the judge you are pleaing guilty on your own judgement and nobody has promised you anything in return for your knowing damn well you were just promised whatever plea agreement 10 mins prior to this conversation then of course they don’t have to honor that agreement which happens. The whole thing is a joke and all that matters is conviction. And fines

  6. 857

    Randy

    @tacco: Have you ever looked at why you committed a felony in the first place? Poor decision making? Taking the easy way? You are now telling me that you committed no felony and the system accused you and then forced you into a plea bargain?

  7. 859

    tacco

    @Randy: It’s not about me… no matter how hard to try to lord yourself over me and position yourself as superior (You can’t even see it) I think your entire premise is wrong and I believe you have indoctrinated yourself with assumtions about me, about society and you don’t have a lick of scientific, social or any type of research to back up anything you say. Given enough power, you could be compared to and as delusional as……

    From what I read, I think your beliefs are in line with the following:

    1- “Randy is good and makes no bad decisions. People should be like Randy”
    2- “If you make a bad decision and don’t end up with a felony, you’re still good (like Randy”
    3- “If you make a bad decision, you are inferior and should be exiled from society”
    4- “If you have a felony on your record, you should be exiled from civil society”
    5- (Despite facts) “ALL executors of law are just, non-bias and good people”
    6- “There is none, and there has never been, a practice of arresting some classes of people more than others”
    7- “Randy is good @tacco is bad”
    8- “Randy is superior than @tacco”
    9- “Randy does not need to meet nor even know about @tacco, to determine that @tacco should be exiled from society”
    10- “Randy is a good boy” “Randy is just” “Randy is great” “Randy is wise” “Randy is awesome” “Randy is mighty” “Randy is…. ” wait a second, wouldn’t that make you like….

    Ohhh my.

  8. 860

    tacco

    @chelle360: He doesn’t understand that when the court asks a drug addict, if they are “aware, alert, of sound mind, etc” before taking a plea bargin… just how ironic and stupid it is.

    Everyone knows (thanks to the obvious and science) someone addicted to drugs is anything but.

  9. 861

    Randy

    @tacco: The majority of people in the US are not felons. @chelle360: So you are saying that the majority of felons did nothing wrong and were railroaded? So you two, confess. Tell us just what you did and were accused of doing.

  10. 862

    chelle360

    @Randy:

    Honestly it makes no sense to address anything with you because you don’t have an understanding and you can only see your own view so discussing anything with you is a waste of my time. All you are interested in is proving your own point. You are to close minded for me to share a conversation. But I really hope you have a good day and learn how to love and forgive as Jesus does for you and I. In addition I’m sure you perception is altered by your past experience and your perception is valid in your own right.

  11. 864

    tacco

    @Randy: oh yeah… and please explain what you mean when you say people “take the easy way” and you took the hard way.

    I’m excited to read how you’re going break this down.

  12. 865

    Randy

    @tacco: It appears that you and Chelle are not able to explain how you were forced into committing a felony by society. Yet, you want everyone to give you another chance or two. I was not easy to work for $1.19 an hour to work my way through school. It meant giving up a lot of things that others had. I didn’t steal from others to improve my situation. I worked for it. It was not easy to get jobs in the 1970s even with a college education. I was able to find work many others were not willing to do. When the future looked bleak, I didn’t use illegal drugs to escape. I constantly read books so I could learn more.

    Do you remember when you were in grade school and the teachers warned you about the importance of maintaining a good permanent record? What that meant to me was that the things I did in life would follow me everywhere I went. That record would someday make the difference between my being successful when I did find the right opportunity. Through hard work I found an opportunity where I could apply all of the things I learned from school and the books I read. The opportunity depended upon having a clean record. I was soon cleared and started what turned out to be a good career. It was one of those jobs that was so enjoyable it didn’t seem like work. Because of the job, I was offered many opportunities for additional educational opportunities, but I needed to go to school while I was still working. That required 16 to 18 hour days for many years.

    Now, I am quite comfortable. The effort I put in early in my life has paid off. Now, I actually give as much as 20% of my earnings to help others who show promise. There were many opportunities in my early life where I could have taken the easy way out by taking bribes, stealing the property of others or even selling drugs to others. It would have been easy money and I could have used it. I resisted. If I had not, I would not have been given the opportunities I have in my life.

    Now Tocco, Let us hear your sad snide replies. You seem to have the answers to why you felons should be given a second and third chance yet you fail to provide evidence that you deserve a second chance. This is your last chance here to provide that justification, so do not blow it!

  13. 868

    just being me

    Dear Randy you could loose it all in the blink of an eye!!! dont think your exempt just because you made all the right decisions your whole life. There will be a time when u will fall of your o mighty holier than thou high horse! life happens shit happens.bad and good things happen to people! all people! just because it has not happen to you you lack understanding? sometimes if you work hard you can fly below the radar and build a life for yourself and sometimes u work for 1.19 your entire life.your one of the lucky ones and it seems to me you have forgotten were u came from.

  14. 869

    notonmyown

    Well if you ar going to focus on those of us who seems to ve enjoying there privileges of having a spot free criminal history- along with those wealthy folks getting a good life handed to you then you will severely obscure your unfortunate life situations often predicaments that forced you into a life of crime.
    But no doubts once being caught and having served a sentence its as if you are catapulted into another class system labeled in a way that depicts the moral chatacter as unaffordable in the society of good natured law abiding citizens

  15. 870

    notonmyown

    Felons are just like anyone else in America just because they were convicted and now have records that will track them easily and send them back or put them into prison if they continue to commit crimes i think it is more imperative that we are preparing jobs for them in this economy. If you can’t see the logic in this statement you are a cruel human being. Those criminals who didnt need to work before getting busted because a life a crime was there living are now faced with a death sentence because many starve and homeless because society won’t allow them to work. That’s why you have the sons and daughters of families also suffering by the strict laws against felons because you only think it will happen to blacks or Hispanics or the underprivileged. Some ppl have to live there lives being a convicted felon whom never committed a crime but because they couldn’t prove they are among those labeled employment outcasts. The worse predicament of being a felon is having optimism about gaining lawful employment. Until realizing the actual truth felons are legally unworkable in the united states.
    They just dont want to admit it. The truth is so hard to find. People who come right out of prison are no better the system only helps them get their first job then they’re on their own. So by law the government have to provide a job for ex convicts (haha no such thing bc once a felon always a felon in the us) that are on release. If one just gets a temp position or quits their new and permanent status then becomes unworkable felon. real lives have been lost innocent or not no one deserves to die trying to find a job. Legal teams are responsible for publishing the truth rather than keeping this fact hidden. No one wants to change the laws to assist an exconvict in gaining employment. Businesses and corporations will all say theyre insurance benefits won’t cover them or allow workers with mischievous backgrounds to be on the payroll on the premises.

  16. 871

    notonmyown

    I cannot imagine that the person who gets a felony tomorrow will never work again in his life. But this will ultimately be his outcome especially since those without a record feel they have priority over any felony in any job position
    Pleasr do not feel discouraged by the people who have no record they only speak in arrogance

    Its best to start your own business or nonprofit organization if you want to sustain your future. Felons do not work in America.it is unacceptable impermissible for companies to hire any felons who have a criminal background.

    Legally it is unrighteous and inhumane but it seems the bureaucrat agenda is mainly interested in resolving social issues among the wealthy privileged individuals who are able to vote now before i go to condemning government and private law firms the out come will still remain the same.
    Their is just not enough attention surrounding the ill fates of convicted criminals.

    Legal fees and pro bono services alike will never get a convicted felon a job!!!!!!! Not in America.

  17. 872

    Christopher

    My name is Christoper I ended up in prison because a garden Grove cop lieed he wanted me to tell on someone and put my family in danger so I ended up in prison. Then a durain of the Santa ana gang unit handguffed then kicked my teeth out then lied about me having a gun. So I where back to prison. I just want to work how do I get help?.what can I do Mr. Obama

  18. 873

    Swaydilly

    The fact that ex felons are not provided a second chance is a very sad state of affairs. Anyone who wants to get all self righteous about helping someone else and supporting a second chance is a hypocrite-bottom line. Have we all not sinned at some point in our lives? Yet we’ve been giving second, third, fourth, etc.. chances. No sin is greater than another the fact that someone else got caught and went to jail doesn’t make the actual sin that they committed any worse. Everyone has their struggles the rich and the poor alike. Different struggles but struggles nonetheless. That’s life..life has ups and downs. You don’t kick someone when they are down. It is our God given duty to help someone else less fortunate in whatever way we can and if that means simply supporting Obama second chance policy then hey why not is it going to hurt any of us to do this? The legal system is jacked up period point blank. There are too many issues here to deal with…many people don’t want to support Obama and stand up against any effort he is for simply because he’s black. Never mind that he makes good damn sense. I’m not here to argue with anyone everyone is entitled to their own opinion even if it’s ignorant as hell. I’m not even here to change anyones opinion it is what it is. Those who choose to live in ignorance will not prosper. I will not respond to any comment on what I said simply because I’m cool like that…peace out!

  19. 874

    Concernedmom

    This that randy speaks of is not biblical. Therefore it is not right to judge everyone as a whole. My son is young and got caught hanging with wrong crowd and now he wearing charges for something he didn’t do while the others walk free. So yes we all make mistakes some bigger than others, it doesn’t mean that all will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Some learn and really would like a second chance to prove thier self.

  20. 876

    Bill

    Randy , im a felon have 3 felonies as a thief , all were over 20 yrs ago and all were within a 2 yr period. I did just under 3 years in prison. I own my own buisness now but it took someone giving me a chance to get where i am. Each felon should be given or not given a second a chance by someone on a case by case basis. Your wrong to think all felons ate bad people for ever and will continue to make bad choices. I will admit most probably will repeat but isnt it worth it if even just one person becomes something positive because of you , me or whoever giving them that second or 3rd chance. Just my story , hopefully its change your ” all felons are bad ” wsy of thinking…

  21. 877

    JustMe

    Wow!! @Randy, everyone don’t have friends that are in high office that at the snap of a finger can have their son’s record pulled and erased. Yes, this sort of things still happens. I don’t know you but I am sure you would be one…please stop….look behind you and you will feel someone tapping you on the shoulder …OH!!!! IT’S JUST YOUR SKELETON REMINDING YOU THAT YOU FORGOT TO PUT HIM BACK IN THE CLOSET. I guarantee you with no doubt…your prideful spirit will one day cause you to look up ( NOT DOWN) at those you are looking down on now……( shaking my head)

  22. 878

    Chill.

    If the FBI who keeps track of everyones background except illegal aliens can exhonerate Hillary Clinton for what she did, then how much more should you all be exhonerated. For what she has done can destroy our whole country yet pardoned by the FBI. I have a pastor who is a convicted felon, and is probably the best preacher I have heard of so far. You see people, he recieved his pardon for our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. So there is no need to look at your pasts anymore. God can open the doors that the FBI can’t shut.

  23. 879

    J. Williams

    Silly you! If you only knew how many people w/ criminal records you’re probably already working with- who were lucky enough to get a ‘ghetto pass’. Before records became more visible to the public, after 9/11, quite a few people had records you didn’t know about. So, many of the people who have ‘visible’ records, those convicted after 9/11, are the ones you know about. I know a guy who was popped for a felony drug possession, when he was 18, who is now a Paramedic in Indiana. LOL- you people are clueless! I also know an elementary school bus driver who had a DUI (she was also investigated as an accomplice in a murder- she was only investigated- NOT convicted). They do their jobs very well. And have been doing their jobs for years. But if you knew who these people were, you’d scream your self-righteous heads off. And I’m not telling- even though I have a Bachelor’s Degree and can’t get a job because of a DUI conviction- that is VISIBLE- after 9/11. Guess I wasn’t so lucky. But- I did it to myself, and I deserve everything I get, RIGHT?! But they don’t. That sounds like “fair and equal treatment under the law”- said NO ONE EVER!

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