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Any ex-prisoners with good stories?

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Kirsty
Kirsty's picture
Any ex-prisoners with good stories?

Just wondering if there's ex-inmates that are now on this site/forum that have managed to get their life back on track and get back working, and how did you find it looking for work again?

Edited by: Kirsty on Nov 18 2015 - 11:48am Reason: Imported from old database.
lulu
lulu's picture

Max, I am glad to hear that you are out there doing well for your self.
Its been a long time sense we have last spoke. Sure seems life is treating you well. I am so glad to hear it.
always,
lulu

smiley
smiley's picture

Max, I too am really pleased to know you are out working, steping up to the plate and still going strong. I can only hope the more you put out, the more your journey will go from strength to strength, all the very best to your new found family. :)

max,madmax
max,madmax's picture

Hey guys, been a while. The answer to your question is yes. I made parole on a Life Sentence 4 1/2 years ago. I've only got 6 months left on parole and I can finally turn the last page in this chapter of my life. As for jobs that a ex-con can land. Yes - if he/she is realistic. I've worked at the same plant the entire time I've been out and they have me in line for the next supervisor's slot that comes open. The work is dirty, dangerous and frustrating - I love it. It used to be that ex-cons could just about bet on a blue collar job when they hit the bricks, not so any more. The influx of Latin Americans has made that hard to find. The Hispanics are hard workers and they will settle for less without complaining. With millions of college grads out of work also, white collar jobs are at a premium, too. So, the best way to get a job is research. Never forget you are a ex-con and will be till your fellow employees and bosses overlook the fact. DO NOT APPLY FOR A JOB THAT HANDLES MONEY, KIDS OR ELDERLY.

max,madmax
max,madmax's picture

Hey guys, been a while. The answer to your question is yes. I made parole on a Life Sentence 4 1/2 years ago. I've only got 6 months left on parole and I can finally turn the last page in this chapter of my life. As for jobs that a ex-con can land. Yes - if he/she is realistic. I've worked at the same plant the entire time I've been out and they have me in line for the next supervisor's slot that comes open. The work is dirty, dangerous and frustrating - I love it. It used to be that ex-cons could just about bet on a blue collar job when they hit the bricks, not so any more. The influx of Latin Americans has made that hard to find. The Hispanics are hard workers and they will settle for less without complaining. With millions of college grads out of work also, white collar jobs are at a premium, too. So, the best way to get a job is research. Never forget you are a ex-con and will be till your fellow employees and bosses overlook the fact. DO NOT APPLY FOR A JOB THAT HANDLES MONEY, KIDS OR ELDERLY. All you are doing is setting yourself up to be shot down or sent back. Ex-cons are easy targets for people to push the blame off on.

Sorry about the double entry. I must have hit the wrong button.

I was lucky and at the same time lowered my expectations. I spent my whole life building things (houses, welding, cars....etc) The plant I work at has machines falling apart around the clock, so I have several skills they need. I have dedicated myself to the plant because the owner gave me a chance to prove myself and my pride won't let me let him down. He thinks I work hard because of work ethic or dedication but, in reality, I work hard because over a quarter century in prison taught me the value of loyalty. I am what I became.

My bride doesn't understand the fact that I owe this guy a lot. She knows how much I've put into my job there and rightly thinks I've more than paid him back for hiring me. The pay sucks. If I hadn't started my own business selling books to prisoners, I couldn't afford to work there. I am constantly using my own money to buy things for the plant. My wife doesn't like that,(who can blame her), and my bosses at work tell me to stop but, the guys that work under me love when I come up with some device that makes their job easier. I usually can't understand what they're saying but, a smile is International!

OK, back to the script. Research:
Try and apply at a place where you know the work and have the skills. If you can't do that, at least research the job and pick up enough lingo that you can bluff your way in the door and tell the boss you want to start at the bottom so you can understand the entire job more fully. Hopefully, you can pick up enough on-the-job training that you'll fake it till you make it.

Acquire something positive for an edge (degree, license, certification...etc). These things can be gotten free or almost free with just an investment of time. Showing you are serious about a trade goes a long way.

As soon as you get out, if you don't have a job lined up, DO NOT TURN UP YOUR NOSE AT DAY LABOR OR MINIMUM WAGE JOBS. I say this for several reasons. The most important being even a little earned income is better than none. Having a job, any job fills a gap on the employment application and let's potential bosses know that somebody else has hired you since you got out and you're not a total risk. A night job doing minimum wage is best for starters, it gives you days to look for a higher paying job and once in the work force, you can start doing the "grapevine" for who's hiring and who not to apply with.

Once you land a good job or at a good employer, don't push your way up. Start building a solid reputation and become needed and liked. I get full quicker eating a plate of beans instead of a bucket of pride - a little ass-kissing will not kill anyone. And remember, a bad day on the street still beats a good day in the joint!

I could go on but, the sun is getting ready to pop up and my lady hates to wake up alone. Best of luck to you and your PP. I have many posts from years back that might help some of you, just click on my name and read.

Stay Strong.
Max

max,madmax
max,madmax's picture

Hey Guys,
Well it's 2012, the world hasn't blown up (yet). Time for an update. My parole ended on June 27, 2011. I am now a free man. On July 26 my then supervisor left the plant to join his lady out West, so on July 28, I was promoted to shift supervisor. I now make enough money to afford a bucket to stand on while I climb in the dumpster at McDonald's!! My wife and I spend more than we make, so we are normal Americans. I still personally drop off books I donate to prisons to feel the disgust wash over me, reminding me what was and can be if I loose my focus. No, life is a struggle and every step forward is usually a climb over an obstacle but, I HAVE MADE IT.
The dog in my profile picture (Fleawagon) has passed on. I keep a photo of him beside my computer. He was my only companion my first year out. He did what he was put on this earth to do - humanize me so that I could (hopefully) be the one who reaches in a prison and turns the life around of somebody who will also reach out and make this world a better place. In his place are two Lab mixes. Rescued sisters who have found out that they can play on softness for those incarcerated by pointing out the fact that they were inmates at a shelter for 2 WHOLE DAYS!!!!! They still are curious as to why I enjoy scratching their hairy butts. :gagme:
Yes, I'll keep on keeping on. My wife is a rock (or sometimes a skillet) that keeps me grounded. I know that my success is just achieving normalcy. I take umbrage when people say they are proud of me for it. I enjoy it more when somebody says "Glad you stopped acting like a dumbass".
I hope everyone on this sight finds happiness with the ones they miss. If it's meant to work, it'll take work.

Later

max,madmax
max,madmax's picture

You go Knorton. I just sent a quarter ton of books to Putnamville. It's the fifth load I've sent up that way. Whether you benefited from those or not, I still wish the best for you. Those achieving normalcy aren't "News-worthy", so it's only places like this that we can share with others the message that habits can be shed like dirty clothes - when you get tired of wearing them. Stay Strong.

YMIHere
YMIHere's picture

I have a feeling the answer is going to be NO. We've had people who have served time here on the forum in the past, but I don't think even one of them had an affiliation with WAP before.

YMIHere
YMIHere's picture

Well said Max. So glad to hear you're doing so well.

gooddog
gooddog's picture

Thanks for sharing your story. I especially like all your realizations. I would love to print this out and send it to my pp, no names attached to it of course, with your permission. I really love telling him about people like you, every day people who easily could have gone one way or the other if not for the choices they made. It really does all come down to a choice.

Vixxxen00
Vixxxen00's picture

Good question!!

Kirsty
Kirsty's picture

Wow, thanks for taking the time out to post, Max, and glad to hear you're doing so well. Just remember to keep your lady happy too though! :P

njticket1
njticket1's picture

Hey

Congrates to you Max. I am fully excited to hear that you are doing so well after that dirty, dangerous and frustrating work.

knorton20
knorton20's picture

I am one that has made the break from the prison cycle to a free life. I started my life of crime after I left the military in 1975. When I got out I was directionless and for lack of better terminology, "lazy." So needless to say I wanted it all and yet did not want to work for it. So I started with burglary of a library (don't laugh they have cash). Got caught for that and got put in the country jail and then probation.

Free again, it did not take me much time to do more stupid things. Went on a crime spree in St. Louis, committing armed robbery at over 10 gas stations. The papers even called me the "cowboy bandit" as I wore a leather cowboy hat. Then seeing it was getting a tad to warm down there I decided to head to Chicago. Well I did not make it, got arrested in Normal, Il for armed robbery and sentenced to 5-10 years in Illinois. While there I was also convicted in Missouri for the other armed robberies there and got 3-3-3-3-2 years. Ended up between those two states doing 10 years.

During my time in Illinois and Missouri, I applied myself to learn new skills. I obtained my Associates degree in business administration/accounting (3.6 gpa) and a certificate in auto technology (4.0 gpa). I also studied law to be able to help other inmates and to stand up for prisoner rights.

Being a little smarter this time when I got out I landed a job in a dealership as a technician within a week of my release. Parents provided a place for me to live which lasted as long as it took me to rebel against my parents rules. Plus I went back to old ways of smoking dope and partying which is a destroyer in my life but had not learned yet. My walk in freedom did not last long, maybe a year and I was back to playing the fool.

Stole a new car from a dealership and left Virginia to go back west. Got to St. Louis and thought I'd get some extra cash by passing bogus checks, which I did. Then it was off to California. Didn't make it. Got to Las Vegas and stopped there for a week. Thought that since I did ok in St. Louis with the checks I'd try it there. Needless to say I was arrested for the checks, resisting arrest, and assault with a weapon. Got 5 years for that and I walked that time doing just over 3 1/2 years.

Again I am free, but this time with a difference. I finally learned that drugs and partying destroy everything in my life and that could not do that anymore. So I have remained sober and drug free for over twenty years. Also when I got out this time I changed the people I associated with. No more people that partied or had no ambition. Got involved in activities that were good for my health, both physical and mentally, brought me into contact with people that were positive influences in my life.

So I started being consistent in my work ethic, kept learning skills and building a history of being dependable, hard working and honest. Some might laugh and say I should not have told employers or others about my past, but I did. I wanted to be above board and straight with those that were investing in my future. I'm not proud of my past, but I am confident that I have grown and moved beyound what it was.

So here I am now, a free man for real. I know that someone getting out of prison can make it on the outside. But that change has to come from the inside, prison won't change you. It's up to the man and woman to come to the point in their life where they say "enough!" and make the changes they need to in their lives to be productive citizens. Not always easy, not always quick, but believe me it is worth every drop of sweat, every anguished moment in the journey.

So who ever you write in prison, encourage them, be their cheer leader if you must. Your words and support can change a life for ever. Believe it and keep doing it. And from my heart I thank each one of you that take the time to write an inmate for those that chose to write me and be in my corner through the dark years of my life. You are very special and don't ever forget that.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Max... I love you for this. I may print this and send it to my boy.

max,madmax
max,madmax's picture

Hey guys. Well in a few days it will be 8 years since I hit the bricks. I'm still keeping it simple and straight. Has it been easy? HELL NO. Would I want it any other way? Nope. I'm still a supervisor at a PVC plant and I still spend my off time getting books into prisons. The only difference is people see me as a person instead of an ex-convict. A local church gives me books on a weekly basis so I don't have to dumpster dive for books as much (still do though, it's amazing what people throw away :fall:) Still married to my love. Still bust out in smiles when my two hundred pound girls jump me when I get home in the mornings. I made the last payment on my truck in April. Most of all, I've kept my life and my dreams simple. I have decided to just be normal.

I still lay awake at nights and regret the time I lost in prison. 26 years is a big chunk of anyone's life. Though I finally used that time to my advantage and carried my lessons out the gate, I still hate the fact I missed out on so many things. But, it is what it is. For you all that are fretting over the chances of your loved one making it, don't. Anyone who wants to stay out can do it. It doesn't take a miracle or special type of person to live free, it just takes the desire to follow the rules.

Concentrating on getting what you NEED instead of dreaming of what you want is a big factor. Yes, I would love a 2014 Ford Explorer but, I need to pay my bills so I take care of my 2006 Escape. It would be sweet to travel the world and drink wine in the quaint cities of Europe but, I have bills, so I enjoy eating hot-dogs at road-side stands in the NC mountains. Doing simple things out here beats the hell out of dreaming of fantastic things in a prison bunk.

I wish I had a pearl of wisdom to pass on to you guys about what it takes but, I don't. All I do is just remember I have no choice but, to do it right. I don't want to have the respect of the street trash or mafias. I just want to walk in the door of my house and drink milk out of the carton. I just want to make my own choice of what I'll have for dinner. I just want to walk out the door at 2:00 AM and buy a bag of chips. Dreams of paying cash for Beamers, throwing down hundred dollar bills on a bar and hearing people speak my name in fear are all Hollywood scripts to a screwed up plot. I just want to be normal.

max,madmax
max,madmax's picture

Please do. I'm not famous or infamous. I hate to see anything wasted, especially a life. Too many kids want the bright lights and are dumb-founded when they can't see the real world because of them. Peace.

sunray's wench
sunray's wench's picture

Max - great to see you here again, and ever greater to see you are still on the right road :) Keep going!

gooddog
gooddog's picture

Max, you DID pass on a pearl of wisdom!!!! The best, most important, and somehow strangely elusive to some: it is a choice. I just want to be normal. That's it, Max. That's it.

Most of us live this kind of normal, unsung, pill paying, old truck life anyhow. And there are lots of joys to be found there...

Thanks for writing this beautiful piece.

transforminganna
transforminganna's picture

Please do. I'm not famous or infamous. I hate to see anything wasted, especially a life. Too many kids want the bright lights and are dumb-founded when they can't see the real world because of them. Peace.

Thanks for sharing this, Max. I'm going to copy it and print it out for my PP too.... And yes, when we can just sink into ourselves and our lives as they are and stop the endless search for fulfillment of external desires, then there is acceptance, there is peace, and there is a delicious joy. It makes me happy to hear your success.

Taivas
Taivas's picture

My pal was released 6 months ago and we still keep in regular weekly contact.....he's doing really well and I'm super happy for him :) he's got a part time job and is also attending college to get a degree :) he's really adjusting very well to his new surroundings and seems to be very determined to get his life back on track.....so far so good! I'm extremly proud of him!!

That's quite cool Solo! If I may ask, how long did he stay incarcerated?

RebelUSA
RebelUSA's picture

My pal was released 6 months ago and we still keep in regular weekly contact.....he's doing really well and I'm super happy for him :) he's got a part time job and is also attending college to get a degree :) he's really adjusting very well to his new surroundings and seems to be very determined to get his life back on track.....so far so good! I'm extremly proud of him!!

RebelUSA
RebelUSA's picture

He was in prison for 6 1/2 years

alexT
alexT's picture

Success Stories Archives - Jobs That Hire Felons

here is a list of about 6 success stories about felons getting jobs.

unclefossil720
unclefossil720's picture

Are any of you guys handy with a word processor; I am sure some of you can relate the more disturbing tales behind the wire fences and walls. If you can go 2400-5400 words I will give it a look and find one of you as a rep to host the account then get the ISBN; I know finding work will be rough so giving something like this working with Home | LibreOffice - Free Office Suite - Fun Project - Fantastic People or AbiWord you might be able to come up with something.

My classmate is a lifer as I found him on this site. I was never locked up like this but I have been admitted myself into a mental health facility and notice how some can be in jail for the same amount of time as being in one of these places. I have written someone who has the black warrant as the execution warrant and wonder for those who are now back outside if they want to explore something a little out of the box. Female ex-prisoners I am exploring documentary film making as I am looking to do something based on my research with an Egyptologist; I am on a fixed income but having everyone explore film making, creative writing and journalism because a lot of writers became published while still incarcerated.

anderos
anderos's picture

Max, I am glad to hear that you are out there doing well for your self.
Its been a long time sense we have last spoke. Sure seems life is treating you well. I am so glad to hear it.

anderos
anderos's picture

I know a few people from my location https://populationstat.com/canada/vancouver who had prison experience in their life. And they managed it well. However, they did not have very serious crimes but still, there was a sentence. It took them time and efforts to adapt to life, but they could. Though you definitely need to want these changes, otherwise, no miracle will happen.