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|← Elizabeth Costello||Malcolm X →|
In the first place, once an individual gets convicted of a felony, the whole society tends to change the way it perceives that person. Prejudice is something that felons have to learn to deal with and it is really all about your attitude. Just because the society looks at you differently doesn’t mean that you can’t make it. Success is totally commensurate with how much determination you possess and other factors.
In a nutshell, felons are not likely to work in social services, federal employment and the medical field but even that statement is a little farfetched because you actually can work in these fields even as a felon because other people have previously done it, nothing is entirely impossible. In the medical field for example, it all depends on where in the medical field you want to work. There is also the matter of the nature of felony that one was convicted of and how far back one was convicted and how well he has done since. For example, to work as a phlebotomist, you really don’t require a license and training takes just about two weeks. To be a pharmacist on the other hand does require licensing and if the nature of your conviction is narcotics related, as much as your determination counts, it is unlikely that you will be licensed unless you are expunged perhaps, and even that is a long shot (Daniels, 23-45).
Background checks are done in jobs that require licensing and for one to be allowed to work in these so called respectable fields, a felon needs to have his rights restored. It is understandable for one to feel unfairly treated especially when a felony conviction was in one’s minority age. I mean, why should you keep paying for something you did when you were a juvenile, right? But the fact is, once convicted of a felony, rights of an individual are by implication taken away and society’s perception about the felon change.
The answer as to whether there is a way around the problem of restrictions leveled against felons to work in the medical field and indeed several other fields is yes and no. One, you can use deception and by this I mean, you should under no circumstances reveal that you were convicted of felony. When the potential employer seeks to know, lie about it. Employers say that as a requirement, they will conduct a background check but mostly don’t. They just say so as a matter of formality but even in the event that they actually do check, they will likely check in the state where you are seeking employment, so if you committed the crime in another state, some employers wont find out.
In other sectors like the medical field however, deception won’t work and telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth would be a good thing even if it means you won’t be licensed. The medical boards insist that they look at every case on individual merit and maybe that is true but unless you receive full pardon you might not get licensed. On the other hand, you might actually be granted a license but finding employment could still be a hurdle. On the brighter side though, nothing stops you from working privately once you are licensed (Egan, 111-134).
The second option is being “good”. You can better yourself even after being convicted of a felony and it is always a plus to let your good record after a felony conviction be known to employers but truth can be hurtful. Take the example of a sex offender. Disclosing this to a potential employer is almost a guarantee that you won’t be hired and you really can’t help but be apprehensive if you were in the employers’ position. True, there are good people who are willing to give felons a second chance but the nature of crime depends. A habitual offender does not inspire confidence.