Life after a felony is a huge challenge as felons know all too well. It can seem as though the entire world is against them, that they have been abandoned.
Not only is almost everything they have known in the past changed, so much is gone forever.
This blog post will cover how a felon can be successful.
- Losses a Felon Suffers
- Stories of Success
- Seven Steps to Success
- Supporting a Felon’s Efforts at Success
Losses a Felon Suffers
What once have been a promising career as an accountant, teacher, or nurse is no longer available to them because they have lost the license, certification, or union membership that established them in those chosen fields.
The education, training, and experience they worked so long and hard to achieve may still be there, but their felony conviction has closed so many doors to opportunities they once could have taken advantage of.
Their personal and family life may also have changed drastically. Spouses and significant others may have given up and moved on.
Once close families may now no longer communicate with each other.
The support of friends may be gone. Even those who thought they had good friends may become socially isolated.
Those they once got into trouble with may be practically the only ones still there. These are the ingredients that set felons up to return to their old, criminal ways.
It can be so tempting to return to those old hangouts and engage in the same crimes or even ones that are more serious. Within the first three years following their release from incarceration, approximately 69% will once again be locked up.
That is a very depressing statistic.
But felons do not have to return to a life of crime. The road is long and difficult, but there is hope.
Success can be achieved. After all, even if 69% do return to prison, that means that 31% don’t. That is a significant number.
Read the free guide to finding a job, in which stories of success and hope can be found.
Felons can go from gang leaders and members to narcotic traffickers, securities defrauders, those with weapons’ charges and many other crimes resulting in a felony conviction and lengthy prison sentence.
They may at first glance seem very different, but they are similar in a number of ways also. Of course they have a felony criminal record.
They all experienced major losses in their lives as a result. But what else do they have in common?
Seven Steps to Success
These steps to success are not a big mystery, but they do all involve approaching life from a far different standpoint than they had previously.
What were the steps each took in discovering a path to success? Let’s take a look at those steps to success.
First, they all made a decision, one involving the desire to be a success and overcome the mistakes they had made, finding a job they enjoyed, and establishing a life they considered worth living.
Each decided that in spite of being labeled a felon and taking whatever meager morsels society might throw their way, there was something different and far better for themselves.
In order to overcome the obstacles they believed society imposed upon them, each devised a plan for making things different for themselves and their families.
While their plans all differed in some ways, they also had a lot in common. These were ingredients all felons can use once they have been released and seek to find a path to follow to a healthy, productive life.
Next is having determination. Determination is making a conscious decision to do something, which is difficult to achieve and will require much effort. As they say, nothing worthwhile is easily achieved.
While Kweisi Mfume may not have foreseen himself becoming a senator or president of the NAACP, he believed he could find a way to make a difference for others.
He went from being a gang leader to becoming a senator and leader of the NAACP. He was as determined to be a positive role leader as he had been in leading fellow gang members in a life of crime.
Another essential step is to have a goal. Larry Jay Levine’s actions in committing securities fraud had resulted in being incarcerated.
It is unlikely that this was his goal, but that was where his actions led him. He was locked up.
While he was physically imprisoned, his mind told him he could find a goal that was as meaningful to him in legal means as his behavior was when it was illegal.
He realized his mind was his strongest asset, and he based his goal on using that.
While felons have diverse abilities, setting a goal utilizing those strengths makes sense. Taking time to take stock of those strengths and then pursuing the education or training required to utilize these will pay off.
Next, is to remain positive in spite of the hardships faced along the way. Greg Mathis had spent his life committing crime and paid a huge price.
Once he was released, he started off small, but worked his way up. From a simple job at McDonald’s, he went on to bigger and better things by becoming a judge and starring in his own TV show as Judge Mathis.
He did so by remaining positive even when things seemed hopeless.
Also an important step on the road success is a willingness to adapt. Those first efforts toward change may not be met with success.
Of course there are obstacles along the way.
Do you suppose Stephen Richards encountered smooth sailing as he sought to become a criminologist? Were his efforts always rewarded?
Of course not, but he adjusted as he needed to continue his journey from criminal to “convict criminologist” to “degreed criminologist”.
A final critical step to felons’ success is having support. Daniel Murphy pursued and attained a degree in sociology and criminology, not alone, but with assistance.
He had his family and friends as well as educational supporters backing him. When the times were their most challenging he had others to turn to in order to help him through.
It is important for felons to recall and lean on those who care about them and their efforts to rehabilitate and become successful.
Whether felons’ goals are to find a traditional job with an established employer, to seek a less traditional job, or to attain the education and training to allow them to strike their own path as an entrepreneur, success is attainable.
As the free guide to finding a job demonstrates, where there is a will there is a way. The path may be littered with obstacles, but there is a way to reach the other side. It does require hard work.
Supporting a Felon’s Efforts at Success
For families of felons who are newly released or still seeking employment after a considerable amount of time, remember that they most likely do want to make it.
They may not know how, but with guidance and education or training, along with care and compassion from those who love them, they can do it.
While they likely have many doubts, remind them that they successfully completed their long prison sentence. How did they do that?
Just like they will find success now, one day at a time, even when things seem the darkest. There was light at the end of that tunnel; there is light now also!
Be there to support them in their efforts at being the next success story.
What do you think about this blog post? Are you or someone you know in the situation of trying to become successful? What has it been like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.