Should someone's criminal history keep him from being employed? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Should someone's criminal history keep him from being employed?

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65 million Americans with criminal records can't find work. That's according to The national employment Law center.

Should someone's criminal history keep them from being employed? Being free from jail can be a relief. But when it's time to go back to society those with a record are given an extra sentence.

"Once released from prison you are faced with a lot of factors. You need a job, education and family," said Dr. Ochie. 

 "It takes more time for a person with a record. Because we have to try and convince the employer to hire them," said Department of Labor Manager Betty White. 

Finding an opening in the paper and filling out the application is easy. The hard part is the criminal background check. "Often times the stigma of being an ex offender does not allow them to gain employment," said Dr. Ochie. 

"With the economy being like it is, their chances of finding a job is a little bit slower. But they can still find work," said White. About six months ago, Dr. Ochie started a non-profit called Second Chance for that exact reason. It helps people who have been behind bars get back to work.

"We teach conflict management, conflict resolution, and life-management workshops," he said. 

According to his research, 400 ex-offenders come back to Dougherty County every year. "Two Thirds's of those will go back to jail six months, after being released. Because they are no programs to address their needs," he said. 

Dr. Ochie is trying to change that, and get offenders back to work.  For more information on Second Chance call (229) 883-3440.

If you're interested in the Top Step program visit Georgia Department of Labor's website.

Second Chance has 55 offenders in the program trying to start over. They just applied with the city for grant money to help those in need.