Apr 03, 2023
It is hard to return to normal life in the community after a felony conviction.
Finding a job is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges as some employers are less than enthusiastic about hiring felons.
When it comes to violent felons, that challenge is even greater. In fact, certain states prohibit violent felons from working in particular areas.
However, while the obstacles are considerable, it’s not impossible for violent felons to find work. This article will explain everything you need to know about getting a job as a felon.
Similarities and Differences Between Violent and Non-Violent Felons
Violent and non-violent felonies are the two main categories of criminal offenses. Both may involve serving time in prison, restitution or fines, loss of particular civil rights, parole, probation, and others.
The primary difference between violent and non-violent felonies is self-explanatory. The non-violent variant may only cause damage to property or financial harm. No force is threatened or used against a victim.
Non-violent crimes may include forgery, burglary, white-collar felonies, theft, and drug possession.
On the other hand, a violent felony includes attempting to use, using, or threatening physical force against a person.
This type of felony doesn’t necessarily have to end in actual physical harm. Presenting a serious risk of injury is sufficient for a crime to be classified as violent.
Murder, manslaughter, assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and domestic violence are examples of violent felonies.
Violent felonies stay on record for longer than lesser felonies and misdemeanors.
Best Job Opportunities For Violent Felons
Certain areas are more accessible to people with violent offense convictions. The most common jobs for violent felons are in trades and certain services. Self-employment and online work are also viable options.
Some work positions will require higher qualifications while others may come without particular requirements.
Here are the best jobs for violent felons listed by qualification requirements.
1. No education required:
2. Apprenticeship required:
-HVAC service and repair
3. Trade school or certification required:
4. Associate’s or bachelor’s degree required:
It’s worth mentioning that additional qualifications will help when applying for most jobs. Some positions will call for specific licenses or experience.
For instance, becoming a truck driver will require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) while working as a copywriter will usually necessitate a portfolio of previous work.
Self-employment represents an excellent alternative. Starting your own business as an entrepreneur or independent contractor removes most obstacles associated with violent felony convictions.
However, entrepreneurship can be a rocky road for felons and non-felons alike as it requires intense involvement.
Online work is another way for violent felons to avoid certain job-hunting challenges. Online jobs don’t include direct contact with clients, customers, or coworkers.
This is an advantage since many employers don’t feel comfortable with felons interacting with customers or other employees directly.
Did you know? A violent offense doesn’t mean the end of a successful career. One of the most famous examples of this is the famed Hollywood star Danny Trejo.
Trejo spent a total of 11 years in and out of prison with the most severe charge against him being armed robbery.
Yet, he managed to turn his life around and become a staple of the movie industry, starring in numerous blockbusters.
Which Careers Are a No-Go for Violent Felons?
There are two lines of work that will be off-limits for violent felons: certain federal jobs and healthcare professions.
When it comes to federal agencies, applicants can be disqualified if they have any felony convictions, regardless of whether the crime was violent or not. Some federal agencies will even prohibit people with misdemeanors from any ammunition or firearm-related jobs.
The Department of Health limits or cancels licensing for violent felons, preventing them from attaining the following jobs:
-Medical educator or professor
In addition, some types of work won’t be directly prohibited for violent felons, but chances of getting those jobs will be practically non-existent. These careers include personal management and most high-profile businesses.
Best Places to Find a Job as a Violent Felon
Although the nature of violent crime decreases future job opportunities, violent felons can still take advantage of several resources.
Firstly, temp agencies are excellent places to find work. Applicants are always needed in these agencies and there may be many positions that don’t require background checks.
Next, there’s online job hunting. You can find numerous job opportunities online across various industries.
Better yet, many jobs include working from home and freelancing, and background checks are uncommon in both cases.
The largest job boards that are most likely to have appropriate job offers include Craigslist, Freelancer, and Upwork.
Working as a freelancer might be the quickest way to start earning an income as a violent felon. It could take some time to make your revenue steady, but the freelance market is full of opportunities to work with individuals or businesses.
Finally, networking may be a reliable way of finding a job. People from your social circle who know and trust you will be more likely to hire your services.
Plus, family and friends can help spread word of mouth, increasing your chances further.
How to Apply for a Job
The most important thing in a violent felon’s job application process will be the interview. Complete honesty about your criminal record will be crucial here.
It would be best to talk openly about the offense. The honest approach will help you build trust with the potential employer, show your integrity, and demonstrate that you have nothing to hide.
According to the University of Colorado, the best way to conduct an interview as a violent felon is to focus on taking responsibility, showing regret, and explaining how you want to redeem yourself.
Equally as important, you should be brief and concise when talking about the felony and spend more time showcasing your value as a potential employee.
Pro Tip: If you’re a Michigan resident, your road towards a new job might be somewhat easier. Michigan is the only U.S. state that allows certain violent crimes to be expunged from your record.
However, this doesn’t apply to all offenses. Notably, convictions with a resulting prison sentence of 10 or more years won’t be expunged.
Returning to Regular Life
Although violent felons face plenty of obstacles, there are many job opportunities out there that can represent a massive step in the right direction.
Any qualifications you may have will serve to unlock the doors. But the best way to open them will be to show up to interviews with honesty and commitment. Combined with a little luck, your new job could be just around the corner.