Coming out of Lockup…
Practical things you can do once you are let out of Jail.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Quran 4:17 “Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.”
You did some time now, what is on your mind?
Today is your first day out jail. What are you going to do? A principal consequence of America's War on Drugs has been a sharp increase in the U.S. prison population. During the Reagan and Bush administrations of the 1980s (who brought the drugs and guns into our communities), Congress established harsher penalties for drug dealers and gave broader powers to law enforcement. The government spent billions to combat the drug scourge. In 1986, Congress mandated significantly longer prison sentences for people convicted of possessing crack cocaine than for those possessing cocaine in the powdered form. Because most crack users were Black, many within-and outside-the African American community believed the laws were part of a racist conspiracy to imprison Blacks. Even many Uncle-Tom Negroes supported these laws-including the Congressional Black Caucus. Black neighborhoods were being terrorized in violent crack wars nationwide. Poor Blacks who break the law were victims of an unjust, racist society that leaves them few viable options.
The devils in power conclusions were unavoidable: Blacks were identified as the main targets of the War on Drugs. According to a report issued by Human Rights Watch, a nongovernmental organization that monitors human rights abuses worldwide, Blacks account for 62.7 percent of all drug offenders sent to state prison. Whites account for just 36.7 percent. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are five times as many White drug users as Black. Another SAMHSA survey found that drug users most often buy drugs from dealers of their own racial or ethnic group. Between 1991 and 1993, SAMHSA researchers found that 16 percent of admitted drug dealers were Black and 82 percent were White-a ratio radically at odds with the racial makeup of the population imprisoned on drug offenses.
Clearly, the War on Drugs is largely a war on Blacks. Now they are letting these Negroes out of prison with a criminal record, and no education. According to National Institute of Corrections (NIC) almost 700,000 prisoners were released from federal and state prisons in 2005, and the annual number of releases continues to grow. These individuals transition to communities all across the nation. Most are still under correctional supervision. A high percentage of them are rearrested in short order, and roughly two-thirds return to prison within 3 years—as a result of either new convictions or parole revocations. Do you want to be another statistic?
DAY 1 -Assessing your situation
You are going to need more than singing and shouting and someone laying hands on you in prayer. Don't get me wrong, connecting to God is a good 1st step; however you need to take some more practical steps to improve your life. If you take one step towards Allah, he will take two steps towards you. On day 1 when out of prison you have to assess who are your friends, allies, and benefactors. You have to assess who could help you out and….most importantly, not to associate with those negative influences that will put you back in the same bad situation.
Many of your old friends probably didn’t even put money on your books, or come and visited you. So why are you trying to reconnect with them? You don’t have to ‘dis’ them or not be their friends anymore, but you must distance yourself from negativity. Once you have compiled your list of people who got your back, contact them and see if they would assist you. If you have nowhere to go, go the local homeless shelter or halfway house or contact your local religious organization and tell them your situation. Maybe they have some resources to refer you to or maybe someone may be able to assist you. Remember, you are not alone (According to the Holy Quran)…”wherever you turn your face; there is the face of Allah.” “He is closer to you then your own jugular vein.”
NEXT –Goal setting
Quran 2:148 “To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race)
Towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, Allah will bring you Together. For Allah Hath power over all things.”
A Goal is a dream with a date on it. A goal is something you want to achieve. No child wakes up and say they want to grow up and be a drug dealer, pimp, prostitute, a drug or alcohol addict...no. One time in your life you had dreams, maybe it was having a nice home, driving a nice car, and maybe raising a beautiful family with your lovely wife or husband. The fact that you are live means it is not too late. “To each is a goal to which Allah turns you.” If you choose the high road, and plan to do some good in your life, Allah will honor this and will bring people and circumstances around you that will better your situation. But if you plan to do wrong, the opposite will happen and people and circumstances will come to bind you, control you, to imprison you, to steal from you, to kill, and destroy you. Let’s break the cycle from our people, let’s take the curse from our families.
Get a note book, a calendar, or something where you can write down your goals. Start off with some short term goals like 1.) Buying some cloths for an interview 2.) Buying some soap and deodorant . 3.) Staying sober for the week, or a month, Then some intermediate goals like…. 4.) Talk to someone about getting your GED or High School diploma. 5.) Saving $1000. 6.) Getting your own place 7.) Staying sober for the year. Then set some long term goals like….. 8.) Finding a job or starting your own business 9.) Re-establishing your relationship with your family. God help those that help themselves. The Quran puts it this way in Surah 13:11, “God never changes the condition of a people until they change within themselves”.So now is NOT the time to feel sorry for yourself. You need to focus and get on your grind. The devil on judgment day will deny you and say he only called you, so you will have to take responsibility for some of your actions and by doing so, then you can plot your course towards victory.
How to Get a Job with a Criminal Record
Whether you've just been released from a lengthy incarceration or you had a minor scrape with the law when you were a kid, a criminal record can be an added source of anxiety in an already stressful job search. Depending on the severity of your offense(s), your criminal record may not affect your employment prospects at all, or it may make finding a job nearly impossible. Still, you have reason to be hopeful. While you may face some hurdles, you will eventually be able to find employment, regardless of your record.
1.) Prepare while you are in prison. While serving time take advantage of the many opportunities to get your G.E.D., start or complete your college education, or get vocational training. Good preparation is especially important if you have been away from the outside world for an extended time, if you have limited job skills and experience, or if you will not be able to return to your previous area of employment (for example, if you were a bank teller and were convicted of theft, you probably will no longer be able to work in banking).
2.) Take advantage of education or job training programs that may be available to you. Government agencies and non-profit organizations provide a host of opportunities for all job seekers to get more training or education. The experience and skills you develop in these programs can make a big difference in the success of your job search. There are also such programs targeted specifically to people who have recently been released from prison. These programs usually also help you find a job during the program and after completion.
3.) Eliminate jobs for which your record will automatically disqualify you. Your record may automatically disqualify you for some positions, especially government jobs requiring security clearances, military jobs, positions with fiduciary responsibility (e.g., insurance or banking), and jobs working with children. If you avoid wasting time on jobs you cannot possibly get, you’ll be able to focus on real opportunities and you’ll be less likely to get discouraged. Most importantly, though, do your research. Don’t just assume that your record will disqualify you from a certain job.
4.) Be realistic. Honestly evaluating your qualifications is important for all job seekers. You need to find something that fits you and your skill level, and if you consistently apply for jobs for which you don’t have the right skills, you’ll quickly become discouraged.
5.) Start small and work your way up. Understand that when a person sees your record, he or she may be reluctant to hire you for a position with a lot of responsibility. That same person, however, may be more than willing to give you a chance in another (usually lower-paid) position. In addition, it’s important to understand that the biggest obstacle may be the gap in your employment history, not simply your conviction. If you want to return to your previous career, it’s likely that business processes and tools may have changed substantially since you left your last position, so you’ll probably need to take a step down to gain more training. Get your foot in the door, especially with a company or in a field that can lead to better opportunities in the future.
6.) Learn about the employment laws in your state and/or country. In some countries (including the U.S.), employers generally cannot automatically disqualify you based solely on an arrest or even a conviction (if the nature of the crime is relevant to the job, however, they may lawfully base an adverse hiring decision on this). This is why applications that ask if you’ve been arrested or convicted of a crime usually have a disclaimer stating that a “yes” answer may not necessarily prevent you from being hired. Know your rights, and consult an attorney or make an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint if an employer unlawfully discriminates against you.
7.) Be honest about your history. It can be tempting to lie when an application asks if you’ve been arrested or convicted of a crime. Avoid the temptation: not only is this dishonest, chances are the lie will be discovered. Most employers now conduct some sort of background check, and if they find that you have been dishonest on the application you will almost certainly not be hired. If you’ve already been hired and the lie is discovered later, you can be fired for it. In addition, lying on some applications (such as for military enlistment) is a criminal offense.
8.) Know what to answer on applications. Some states and countries now prohibit employers from asking about certain offenses, offenses that are over a certain number of years old, or arrests that did not result in a conviction. Your research on employment laws should help you know what questions you have to answer. In addition, be sure to answer only the specific question that is asked. For example, if the application asks if you’ve been convicted of a crime, you don’t need to put down an arrest that did not result in a conviction. If a conviction has been sealed or expunged from your record, or if you pled guilty to an offense and completed a pre-trial diversion program (i.e. deferred adjudication) that resulted in no conviction, you may not need to report these either. Be aware, however, that when enlisting in the military or certain federal government positions, you must report all offenses, even those that have been expunged or sealed.
9.) Explain your answer if asked about convictions or arrests. Job applications and interviewers will give you an opportunity to explain the circumstances behind the offense or alleged offense. Be sure to take this opportunity if giving more information about the offense may be helpful.
10.) Try to get an offense sealed or expunged from your record. Ask your attorney, public defender, or parole / probation officer whether you may be able to get the offense removed from your record so that you can legally and ethically answer “no” to conviction questions.
11.) Employ yourself. If you’re willing to work extra hard and you have marketable skills or abilities you may be able to make your own opportunities. You could start a yard maintenance business or provide contract IT services to companies, for example. You are limited only by your imagination. Think about what you’re good at and what you like doing, and go for it. You’ll probably need to have another job while you’re getting your business on its feet, but if your record has you stuck in dead-end jobs, you might as well take a chance.