Would you approve a background check for an applicant with a white collar felony conviction? A Minnesota bureaucrat did just that; allowing my wife to start working as a licensed professional counselor, contributing to society in a meaningful way, giving her a second chance. Now that’s thinking outside the box! What’s the back story? Patty decided to return to school, Liberty University, having been fired and while under a two year Federal investigation; that takes guts, debt and a resolute faith in her future. A good case could be made for Patty coloring way outside the lines for most in her predicament. What would you do? You’ve lost a $65,000/year job, there have been two search warrants executed on your house, several humbling discussions with your husband and the budget is wrecked; options? Bunker mentality and wait for the hammer to fall or prayerfully rebuild and soldier on; my wife chose the latter, it took courage.
Patty finished her second graduate degree; a Master’s in Professional Counseling with a 3.7 GPA, not bad considering she served 23 months Federal in the middle of it all. Her University chose to take her back upon release from prison, only after she signed a waiver; they didn’t think she’d get licensed either, they were wrong.
Patty’s Federal probation officer allowed her to fly to the State of Virginia for a critical four hour exam; she was a recently released felon on three years Federal Supervised Release. This was a brilliant call, way outside the box; he had faith in her, we are grateful.
So here’s the bottom line, sometimes good people make big mistakes, do you give them a second chance? Yes you say? Talks cheap, let’s take a look. Does your job application form have a box where you check yes or no if you have ever been convicted of a crime? Several states including Minnesota have a “ban the box” provision, allowing people who have served time to get a second chance, a least to get to the interview process.
The following is a link to nationwide stats for inmates re-entering society: http://csgjusticecenter.org/reentry/facts-trends/ I ’d say we have a situation. The financial and social impact is of such magnitude, it’s staggering, very sad. Change is needed, are you in?
Here’s a good quote: “Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure” (Benjamin Disraeli). Those who thought outside the box and gave Patty a second chance, made strategic decisions, against prevailing sentiment; they were brave, and were proven right. Included are a State of Minnesota bureaucrat, a Federal probation officer, Patty’s personal references and her current employer. Patty is a long shot success, perseverance sustained by faith. Many inmates released will run the re-entry gauntlet set up to fail; their failure is our failure. The solution: more thinking outside the box.