Wrong place, wrong time will cost you

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Imagine you were caught up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. After getting caught doing something that is deemed to be unlawful, you are now considered a criminal, and finding secure employment gets really hard.

There is no financial aid for felons so unless you can pay out of pocket, so school is out. You once had a promising future, now you’re condemned to work for minimum wage possibly for the rest of your life.  

Even if you have committed a crime and are found guilty and suffered the consequences, do you not deserve a second chance? If you can be rehabilitated and learn from your mistake, do you not deserve the chance to live the “American Dream?”

I hope that we have not been so blinded that we consider ourselves better than the next man, because in reality we are only one step or situation away from being that man.

Listening to the radio last week, the subject of felons and the workforce was discussed. President Barack Obama was asked what could be done to help felons who are trying to change their lives.

The question came from a man who has not been in trouble for 20 years, but still could not find a job.  When answering the question, though sincere in his tone, you could tell that there is not much the president can do.

20 years of being a model citizen, and still unable to find a good job is ridiculous. It is hypocritical that we live in a country built on dreams, but that dream is torn away if you make a mistake.

Some behaviors are learned, while others may be inherited. There is definitely a difference between a person who cannot control his actions and person who makes an unwise decision. For example the justice system says that a rapist cannot be rehabilitated, that somewhere in the back of his mind there will always be the urge to rape again.

This rapist is definitely not the man you want working near your kids or maybe anywhere that women are working. It is understandable to not want a person who cannot control their actions in your work environment. Some behaviors are more of an uncontrollable addiction where as others are survival methods.

So my question is, should two people with two totally different agendas be judged on the same scale? I know many people whose lives have been tarnished by a felony.

There are some good people who are unable to find jobs and provide for their families because of a past that will not go away.

What I wonder is, how can you be expected not to commit more crimes if that is the only thing keeping you from being homeless? If we as a people do not save ourselves and become more involved, who will save us?

How many generations will we lose to a system that was definitely not designed in our favor? It’s very ironic that a country run by “Christians,” built by thieves, would be so unforgiving. Think about the number of black men that are incarcerated, this makes me wonder are we really free?

Don’t get me wrong; there are definitely people who deserve to be behind bars. But a person with a blemish on their record doesn’t deserve to be called a criminal.

A man robs a store in order to pay his light bill and feed his family. You send him to jail, which is only right because he committed a crime.

The man is released from jail, and cannot find a job because of his record. After a while of unsuccessfully trying to do the “right” thing, eventually what is this man going to do?

The system is a perpetuation of a horrid cycle that has been going on in America forever, which in reality affects one type of people more than another.

In fact a certain set of rules have been put into place, to ensure that a people of former slaves will always stay in a certain situation.     

  • Marica Nelson