A second chance at change

Omar Ceja, Staff Writer

A sense of security is one of the most sacred virtues that could ever be stolen from an individual. Fear can leave a person traumatized for years. This raises the questions: In the work industry, should someone who once inflicted fear upon others be given job opportunities? Should the former convict have access to more job opportunities than what they already have, or is the treatment that they receive from the public justified? 

Upon being released, former prisoners may encounter difficulty when finding a job due to the lack of opportunities offered by the public. Aside from failing their background check, insufficient experience and skills may also limit an ex-convict during their job search, resulting in settling for a low-wage job; a low-wage job with little opportunity for advancement. Struggling to make ends meet, a former prisoner may then end up back in prison or homeless because that is easier than finding a job when walking around as a convict. We often get upset at our country’s economic state when we notice panhandlers and homeless individuals filling the corners and underpasses that we drive through everyday. One may roll down their window and give them a dollar or two, while the next car keeps a tunnel vision for the remainder of the red light. We question their job status and their inability to hold a job, but don’t consider their struggles. 

On the other hand, if given a better chance — more opportunity — would they just blow it? For the more serious crimes that individuals have been acquainted with, should those ex-criminals even be treated with dignity? Crimes that have left individuals permanently scarred. Our whole life we have been taught to forgive and forget, but how can we? How are we supposed to sweep aside such vile acts of inhumane crime, whenever these criminals couldn’t even take into consideration the damage that would be done? And now we should feel pity? Pity because now they are struggling; now they are receiving a taste of their own medicine. What then, for these felons? What behavior toward them can be justified?

Such a topic can be taken either way. Some may have deeper connections with a former prisoner, so their opinions may differ from someone that has not gotten to know an ex-criminal on a personal-level. For those with crimes less severe than most, a second chance should seem more acceptable. With the opening of more jobs, our country’s unemployment rate will decrease, and more individuals will be back on their feet and the economy can slowly grow. On the other hand, individuals must also be able to get accustomed to more felons being present around those day-to-day errands. Felons with less serious crimes to their name should be given more job opportunities, so they have a chance to turn their life around. They have served their time; now let’s give them the opportunity to choose a different path because change is possible.