Skip to comments.Former gang members: A life sentence of joblessness (Cry me a river)
Posted on 05/15/2011 7:46:45 AM PDT by Second Amendment First
Lorenzo had a hard time concealing his nervousness. Standing in front of a large room packed with Boeing employees in late March, the tall, lanky African American gang member described the arc of his life. At 22, he had spent nearly a third of his life incarcerated.
Peering out of his round, black-rimmed glasses, he talked about his seven months at Homeboy Industries (the largest gang reentry program in the country), and about how he had moved quickly from the janitorial team to become an assistant in the accounting department. "I used to steal money," he said. "Now I'm counting it."
I had the honor of witnessing Lorenzo's seven-month journey from convict to accounting assistant, watching as he became the young man God had in mind when he made him. But despite his remarkable turnaround and the many things he had to offer an employer, Lorenzo's prospects for finding a job outside our program were dim.
Opportunities for second chances are few for people like Lorenzo. Homeboy Industries is about the only game in town. Most employers just aren't willing to look beyond the dumbest or worst thing someone has done.
Another "homie" recently came to me for help after, for the third time, he was let go from a job because his employer had discovered he'd done five years in prison. He told me the boss said, "You're one of our best workers, but we have to let you go." Then, with a desperate sadness, the young man added: "Damn, G. No one told me I'd be getting a life sentence of no work."
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
The mark of our society as civilized will come when we embrace confidence in the power of redemption.
Gregory J. Boyle, a Jesuit priest, is executive director and founder of Homeboy Industries. He is the author of "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion."
Another liberal priest wanting to lay a guilt trip on employers for not hiring gang-bangers covered in tats, full of attitude and still hanging out in "clubs".
How many times should society turn the other cheek and forgive sociopaths? And put them in the front of the line, ahead of those who chose to work hard, take advantage of the educational opportunities offered and lead honest lives.
They should be out there talking to young people on the streets instead of Boeing or other employers, who rightfully seek clean employees rather than "former" bangers looking for social justice with an attitude and history of violence.
*shrug* I’ve hired former felons. The key word being former.
Maybe if he had TOLD his employer about his past instead of the employer “discovering” those facts, this would have had a different outcome. If I were to learn that my employee had effectively lied to me, I would have to assume that individual would be deceptive on the job.
With our economy/job market being the way it is, if you were a former gang member, or anything of the like, your ARE screwed when it comes to getting a desirable job. There’s no shortage of good experienced people looking for work. Someone with a criminal record won’t have a chance when competing with such people, and for an increasingly limited numbers of positions. Hope and change isn’t gonna do them a damn bit of good!
I’ve hired many reformed addicts and felons. Did everyone work out? No but some became my best employees. You don’t know Lorenzo and I doubt you know yourself.
Gee, maybe he should have thought about that before deciding to become a gang-banger.
Granted, I don’t have a business and I’m not an employer. However, I would have a hard time hiring someone who looked like the photo of one of the gang bangers. Shaved head with tattoos on it? Now, if someone came to me and told me of their past openly and talked about how they have since changed perhaps, just perhaps, I would hire him on a temporary basis in order to see if they are truly changed or just lying. Just a thought.
Real Front Office material there.
Yikes, does he have some kind of eyebrow disease?
Yeah I know it’s tattoos but it looks like a disease. I wonder if anyone has told him yet?
You can’t expect somebody who is younger than 13, the age when youth often join gangs, to know it isn’t the smartest move one can make in life.
“There’s no shortage of good experienced people looking for work”.
You are right. A friend of mine recently applied for a retirement job with the Park Service in Pennsylvania. The job requirements were a high school degree, clean record etc.. (nothing extensive). Who got the two jobs? Two people with Masters degrees. One of those candidates had some time working on a Ph.D. (salary is $30,000 grand a year). Employers have a vast number of very good qualified people to hire with no gang ties, felony records, drug convictions etc... The best candidate should get the job IMHO. Not the one who has brought pain and criminal activity with them as baggage.
Yes, there are those felons who will turn their lives around. But I’m sure those you hired were only a small percentage of felons you had apply. How many of those felons you did hire were gang-bangers?
These former gang bangers could find some real work by getting away from the inner cities. Loggers, farmers, ranchers, mills, and other hard working jobs are crying for help. I guess the clubs and the continued association with gang life are too much of a draw for them.
Unfortunately, this guy's story confirms that -- in a bad way.
When I was in middle school I had one visit from a group of narcotics detectives from the local police department. Back then, this was the extent of the police department's anti-drug effort in schools. It was one of the most effective presentations I've ever seen. The lieutenant of the narcotics squad held up a couple of small plastic bags -- one filled with white powder and the other with brown powder. He asked if we knew what these were. One kid raised his hand dutifully and said he thought the white powder was cocaine. A couple of other kids guessed at what was in the second bag, and one finally said: "Heroin."
"No, this isn't cocaine and heroin, kids," the detective said, dangling the little bags in the air in front of the class (almost playfully), "this is John Belushi right here, and you're never going to see him alive again because this is all he was."
This was just several weeks after Belushi had died of a drug overdose.
Well if we made a better example of punishing gang bangers, i.e., sending them all to Gitmo, then maybe they’ll get the message.
“You’re one of our best workers, but we have to let you go.”
There are plenty of gangbangers on death row. Also many gang bangers are given instant death sentences in other countries. Who still have gang problems.
You’re not going to solve this problem upping the punishment.
Guess you don’t believe in redemption and giving people a chance to put right their mistakes and move on then? I know some scumbags, maybe even most, will stay scumbags their whole lives, but people who do put the effort in to change deserve to the chance to put their past behind them, if they haven’t committed a crime that warrants a life sentence or the death penalty, in which case it should be up to God in the next life to redeem them...
None, zero, zip.
The bar is higher for ex-cons, I must be convinced they have truly seen the light.
That, and there is a huge difference between making a single mistake in a fit of passion or moment of stupidity and making a conscious ongoing decision to be a career bad boy or bad girl.
So far no gang-banger has made my cut. Still, I'm open to the possibility...
“Real Front Office material there. “
That was hilarious!
On the contrary, I do believe in redemption, and have seen it numerous times. However, it is not usually successful when the bangers still hang in the same hood and same clubs with the same associates. Vetvetdoug in post #15 had a good suggestion.
Having a rap sheet and wanting to turn your life around is a noble idea. I believe in second chances in life, but expecting that you’ll be able to retain a secure, good-paying position when you have a laundry list of felonious arrests and incarcerations, is like expecting to purchase a home or get a loan after declaring bankruptcy. After a sordid past, a person must proove themselves, little by little. They must truly work themselves up from the mailroom, or from sweeping floors. Those are the consequences for making bad choices in life.
“Then, with a desperate sadness, the young man added: “Damn, G. No one told me I’d be getting a life sentence of no work.””
That’s what your daddy should have been telling you. Was there a daddy?
I actually do sort of cry a river over young men like this. Their futures are bleak.
They are the product, generally, of a very weak to nonexistent family structure.
Exactly, the bar is higher. Employment applications usually ask about arrests and convictions, and related details if applicable. Every case is different. I’m not going to hire someone convicted of rape to supervise a mostly female night shift. And certainly not someone at all who has committed a violent crime over some petty incident. Let alone repeat offenders.
They were told by the gang that they would be “gangstas” for life. They got what they bargained for. Let them turn their life around by turning their “homies” around. They can open their own businesses and work for their own kind. I have no use for them in my world.
What a load of liberal bovine excrement.
Looking beyond a person's past doesn't mean it is prudent to disregard their personal history, both good and bad.
If you are in a position to hire employees for a large company or a small enterprise, just ask yourself one question before making that final decision.
"If I was hiring someone to work for me, someone I could trust working with my own family at my own small, struggling business, someone to trust with my own products, money, reputation, and chance to succeed, would I hire this person?"
It doesn’t necessarily mean someone doesn’t believe in redemption.
A business owner or manager has an obligation to his customers and the other employees.
Recidivism is high in ex-cons.
Particularly if they have violent tendencies, would you want a customer or a law abiding employee hurt or killed because you ‘believe in redemption?’
Would you like your business robbed blind?
It’s not a guarantee that an ex-con will take part in the above; but it is a lot more likely that he will than your average college grad with a clean record.
There is a man on my block who had one felony (don’t know what for) at age 18. He is in his 30s now, married, kids. He’s been looking for work for almost two years. If I had work, I’d hire him. But I have gotten to know him and his family fairly well over the last few years.
To just hire an ex-violent offender in the hope of ‘redeeming’ him without knowing him at all, exposing my customers and other employees to that? I don’t think I would. Only if it’s a position where somehow he can’t do harm.
Oh, I almost forgot. This is "Obama's America" and "Holder's People"...
Self sufficiency? American ingenuity? Self reliance?
"Homey don' play dat..."
That being said, the guy can start a net-based business or something. That is, if the regime wouldn't instantly put him on the "destroy" list for escaping the democrat plantation.
At some point we decided that we would tolerate the existence of gangs, it has come to the point where we must decide not to tolerate them anymore.
Maybe accounts receivable?
The first step would be to no longer associate with your old gang clique, move out of the city, and work far away from your old life.
The kind of jobs that ex-cons would be suited for, are currently done by illegal aliens. Our first step as a country needs to be to expel the illegals. The second step should be to abolish the minimum wage for felons. The reason that employers hire illegals is that they're willing to hard and cheaply. An employer who is willing to not ask about an employee's immigration status should also not care about felon status, if the employee is willing to work cheaply.
After ten years of no further trouble, the ex-felon should be allowed to petition for sealing their records from employer inquiries.
Not to change the subject, but this is the reason I would never have supported Huckabee. His belief in redemption of violent criminals cost a handful of people their lives.
We shouldn’t tolerate the existence of gangs. The general intent was that by allowing gangs to form, it would be controllable.
However, though we shouldn’t tolerate gangs, we need to bring ex-members back into society and help them lead a normal life, or you are not going to solve this.
No need to cry you a river. If a person that wants to work finds no job, eventually he will do what it takes to survive. A former felon already knows what to do.
So once they get out they need to be re-integrated or else...
An anecdotal example, I admit. There are likely anecdotes that show an ex-con can live a peaceful and productive life after release. But those that murder again exact a heavy toll, for those they kill and their families, and it gives you pause.
So are you saying that, in a time of high unemployment, those convicted of violent crimes should get preference because if they don’t they will act violently?
I agree with you totally!!! Best to be upfront.
You can’t tell me these kids can’t look around and see what happens to the older gang members? Kids aren’t stupid. If they do choose this lifestyle, then like the rest of life, they’ll pay a price, whether they fully understand it our not. It’s just the way life is.
No, but if no one hires them what do you eventually expect?? Hell, even an accusation or a ‘not guilty’ verdict can ruin your life since it follows you. Once you have finished your sentence there should be no more punishment. USA has more than 2 million in jail, imagine how many more are out or on parole. What to do with them?
This is not about punishment. It is about comparing resumes. Who would you hire if there was a choice? A person with a resume showing a degree obtained while working full time, or someone who spent the same time in prison for rape or armed robbery. Who would you choose to punish?
A business is not a social rehabilitation agency. They are in business to make a profit. When I go to a store, I expect to be helped when I have a question, not murdered.
The problem is that our prisons are too cushy, prisoners should not be allowed to congregate, shouldn’t have any access to TV.
Prison should be a place to be feared. Gang members see prison as a part of the ritual, a way to get street cred. That’s has to change.
At the age most gang members join, no they don’t. Most young people don’t have an appreciation for the consequences of their actions, that’s why the hospitals are full of young people having done acts of stupidity (criminal and noncriminal).
It takes until about the age of 25 for the brain to develop the synapses needed for the appreciation of consequences.
You’re not going to convince some young person to not join a gang by having to line up gang bangers against a wall and shooting them, then putting their heads on a pike for all to see.
And the very-weak-to-nonexistent family structure is a product, generally, of LBJ and his "Great Society".
Oh, I think that would be very effective, not saying I advocate it.
Gang bangers die all the time. If it was an effective means of deterrence, it would be working right now.
I have heard that. I worked for a company for 18 years and new owners came in and told me that “I was the glue that held the company together”.
Two weeks later my job was eliminated and so was I.
It happens to non-felons and felons alike. No one ever said life was fair and if they did and a person believed that, they are fools.