Reducing recidivism, having a felony record, and second chances.

We can all agree that leaving prison with a “felony” on their record disqualifies most offenders from most interviews before they ever are to be considered for a job in today’s workforce.

The word Felony

Is a significant challenge;

  • Part of big-box companies yearly background check
  • Likely may prohibit the offender from reentering the job market, but this may be individual state by state-regulated.


This remaining challenge is a political one; that being the removal of the word ‘felony’ (in certain cases) from a defendant’s record. Nationwide, for both state and federal cases a starting point could be:

  • Non-violent offenses
  • 7- 10 years from the charged offense – without other charges, background checks can either be removed or at minimum designated as completed or ‘not to be used as a negative in a background check’.
  • Practically though, a felony will appear on background checks (Checkr for example keeps it forever), hindering the person from ever reentering most job markets.
  • If this is not done and the released defendant cannot find work; they do not have many if any choices, leading to despair.

Second Chances

While slowly changing, our society’s current reality is that once released, these felons are still facing this challenge every day. Instead, it should be considered that once someone has paid for their crime, they are given a second chance. How states are working to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders.

Some states have removed barriers for ex-offenders, but in federal cases nationwide these challenges still exist.

Utah was one of at least three states that enacted legislation this year making it easier to expunge a criminal record.

A positive example of breaking the recidivism paradigm:

 The Last Mile. Briefly; at San Quentin State Prison where they started a program that is preparing “incarcerated individuals for successful reentry through business and technology training”.



Understanding the Federal Sentencing Guidelines – for general information only.

Photo Credit: