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The “F” Word: Felon



No, it is not that F word. It is the F word – Felon. The constant use of this F word, felon, to describe a former incarcerated individual reduces his or her chance for a successful re-entry into society. Last week, I looked at ads for house rentals. I noticed an owner’s exclusions for potential tenants. The ad indicated no smokers, no pet owners, and no felons. The collateral damage from a felony conviction has always been extensive. Ex-offenders are now the untouchables of American society. You may have successfully completed your prison sentence without any violations and obtained an education in prison, but you are forever branded a felon. This American caste is not only defined by the loss of the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, but this sub-class is chained to a lower economic strata– unemployable. The many obstacles to a successful re-entry for a former inmate has  included the inability to rent a home, the loss of the right to vote, and not finding employment.

Over five million Americans are disenfranchised from voting even if the former inmates are again productive members of society, who pay taxes. Several states do not restore the right to vote to ex-offenders upon completion of their prison sentence. Nineteen states allow former inmates the right to vote only upon completion of their sentence. Thirteen states allow probationers and parolees the right to vote. You can view the infographic from 2012 losing the right to vote.

Many felons are unable to obtain employment. Employers are hesitant to hire a convicted felon and cannot move beyond the felon’s record. Many job interviewer’s expressions have ranged from skepticism to being very uncomfortable and numerous times to hostility.

Americans have always complained about the high recidivism rate in the United States. This American crisis will continue until the many obstacles confronting re-entry are eliminated. After completing their prison time, felons should have their right to vote fully restored. Employers should not be able to discriminate against individuals who have records without a reasonable basis for the decision, such as the prior charge was related to the prospective employment. The federal, state,and local governments need to implement effective programs that will create jobs for these individuals in order to achieve successful re-entries. At the end of the day, society needs to treat former inmates as returning citizens and not as felons.

By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of

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Questions and Comments on PrisonPath - PrisonPath Visitor Information & Inmate Locator- PrisonPathPrisonPathAunt SisterLois AustinGail Beck Recent comment authors
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Anne Pratt

In theory, our society wants justice: to punish offenders, rehabilitate them, and encourage them to keep out of trouble once released. So often I’ve seen parole or probation requirements that the recently-released individual get a job. Without lying, how is the “felon” going to accomplish that? In today’s economy, with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of applicants for any open position, it’s hard for anyone to get a job. Who will take a chance on the F-jobseeker? Without governmental intervention (tax breaks for hiring recently-released individuals, funding for businesses who hire them, or government jobs to help re-entry), it’s unlikely that… Read more »

Gail Beck

The problem isn’t going to go away any time soon. A better solution in my opinion and scriptural is to get the recidivism rate down by introducing a new way of life into those paroled or who have completed their sentence. The Lord will meet their needs and the understanding that the worlds ways will not forget is just an attack of the enemy who has no right to power if we come against him in the blood of Jesus. Programs are in place to help, Genesis One and VACATE. Programs that cause felons to lean on Jesus and know… Read more »

Lois Austin

There are many times, too many to quote, in which the prosecutor makes a plea agreement changing a charge from a felony to a misdemeanor simply to get a so called ‘win’. In those instances we have a true felon walking the street. The prosecutor has a guilty plea and the person goes without a permanent mark against their name. With 95% of cases ending with a plea agreement, we as a society don’t accurately know who is a felon and who is not. A person who pays his/her debt to society and serves his sentence should be released to… Read more »

Aunt Sister

I agree with you 100%,but don’t know how to do anything about it.


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