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

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

  1. 801


    Hi i am a 21 yr old ibelieve in getting and giving a second chance..ihave about 8 felonys igot introduce to the lifestyle at the age of father wasnt thier his life got tooken away wen i was my role model was my big brother it wasnt till than he got sent to prison n now is doing life..all the wrong people influence me so many cases after cases wasnt till this year when my fiance left me that made me wanna open my eyes the cause wasnt her but my two children’s(my 3 yr old daughter in my 1 yr old son).what im basicly trying to say is as a young gang member whom experience alot iwould love for someone to see that im willing to change leave the past behind try to do whats best to succeed in the future in get a professional job to support my family and live a normal life and be the man ishouldve been.

  2. 802

    Carla Barrett

    @My Life: I understand I am a felon myself from 8 years ago .I was so proud when I found the company I was working for ,however after working there 3 years I was terminated today due to I have applied for a pardon and that could take years for get if granted at all.It was a emotionall day .They hated it and want me to try and see what I can do andi can get my job back.I need help

  3. 803

    Curtis Robinson

    I’m also a felon who is trying to do the right thing. I have an issue that I can’t seem to get around. I’m trying to get my license back through the courts there will ing to give me a payment plan but i can come up with the down payment im trying to pursue career truck driving school but I need my license back is there any help I can get to do this and I pay them back

  4. 804

    Cara Bullock

    @David: @David:

    @David. …. so I have not been on in a long while and was just browsing through the comments and came across your comment. …. I imagine words from a stranger have little meaning .. however I truly am sorry for the many struggles you have endured in your life. I am 42 years old and have a 22 and 10 year old daughter …. constantly disappointing them and always wishing I could be someone they could be proud of. I am tired, worn down, exhausted …. and just DONE…. THEY ARE THE ONLY REASON I ATTEMPT TO SURVIVE… I USED TO HAVE SO MUCH STRENGTH AND NO MATTER HOW TOUGH THINGS WERE I NEVER GAVE UP….. I wish I could find that strength again. I wish i was dreaming of retirement instead of dreaming to find a job that will at least pay the bills. obviously I could go on and on …. but I wanted you to know I can relate. I do not know you or anything about you …but I know your a human being and you are worth more than you probably give your self credit for. …. I just felt I needed to say that …. if you ever need to chat or just wanna vent …please feel free …hope to hear from you soon

  5. 805

    Tanya Jackson

    I have a felony that is over twenty-five years old and I graduated college in 2010. First of all, I am black and female and it is very hard to get a job…especially in the South. I do not own a home or an automobile because I cannot find a decent job with enough pay to obtain these things. I would like to work in the court system or probation because of my degree but most jobs dealing with the law require a squeaky clean record. So here I sit with this degree, owe money I have to pay back and don’t know how. I am going to be 56 year old soon and never held but one job since the felony…..I went to prison for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My felony wasn’t a violent crime it was drug related. I did time and got out and still paying. Please help me anyone.

  6. 806


    But why should it be that hard? If someone completed their sentenced, paid their restitution, completed their probation, met all their conditions, isn’t their debt to society effectively repaid? Shouldn’t the focus be on preventing recidivism?
    You talk about giving felons a second chance not being a worthy cost of tax payer money. But that’s paramount to preventing recidivism. What is a more worthy expenditure of taxpayer money than to protect public safety?

  7. 807

    Garrett Kyle fontenot

    My name is Garrett I have a felony on my background I am looking for a good job I work hard its just no one wants to hire me I have tickets I have to pay and need a vehicle I am willing to do anything to get my life back on track so if u can help me plz do u will never forget me I promise thanks

  8. 808


    My name is Mark Thomas and 44 year old I’ve been to prison 4 times I’m a veteran I’ve been to the military two times I’ve done some things that are not actually right and I am very saddened by those things all I want is a second chance to have my record cleared in order to be a productive citizen in society have been married 20 years and I have six children 13 grandchildren and I just asked to be allowed to being a productive citizen in society without having a jacket over my back that people would look at me as being something of a virus or playing

  9. 809

    Micah J Smith

    I am a 45 y/o veteran who has had a few run ins with the law. I have two felony drug charges and finding employment in the south is not easy at all. I have always grown up believing that if our high-power can forgive us, why can’t man. Through out the years I have noticed seen and studied corrupt politicians who commit unspeakable acts to the people, publicly beg for our forgiveness, and end up back in office. But, I get caught with drugs (and I was caught dead-to-rights) and I am, for the most part, discarded into the deepest realms of social-Siberia with no hopes of surfacing; and to me that’s not fair. We profess our country was founded on “Christian” principles; note to self “actions speak louder than words.” I have heard via the “grapevine” from a group of veterans and have seen it for myself that the VA does employee veterans with felonious backgrounds, they truly believe in giving second chances. So, I have committed myself to applying in hopes to be in that number. Fellow, vets and civilians respectively, I know its hard and I am right, there beside you, but don’t give up. I know “easier said than done” but put in the words of Charlotte from “Charlotte’s Web” “chin up.” They can’t keep you down forever. Lastly, I have applied for a few jobs on the USAJobs website and have gotten some good responses. Currently, I was offered a position at the Picatinny Arsenal in NJ as a “Contract Specialist.” The position requires you to obtain and maintain a “secret” clearance, but I have seen employed vets who have been granted clearances, even with backgrounds. So, we will see what happens. Good Luck with all. All your hard works to a better life are not in vain.

  10. 810

    willie hayden

    @Curtis Robinson: I am an ex felon who has been out of prison since 2008. I caught another felony 4 yrs later. since then, I have not been in any trouble. I went to school for truck driving ! I am here to tell you, it is just as hard to find a job in truck driving with a felony ! I have had my CDL since july 25 and I still have no job ! if your felony is less than 5 to 10 years old, forget it if on probation, good luck ! I am not saying its totally impossible, but you are going to face the same challenges .

  11. 811

    Francisco Escalante

    I am a convicted felon. I got locked out when I was 17.I think people who are convicted felons should have a second chance in life.they should be programs that help us find job so he won’t end up back in prison. then we should be able to join the military as well.

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