Skip to comments.Former gang members: A life sentence of joblessness (Cry me a river)
Posted on 05/15/2011 7:46:45 AM PDT by Second Amendment First
Lorenzo had a hard time concealing his nervousness. Standing in front of a large room packed with Boeing employees in late March, the tall, lanky African American gang member described the arc of his life. At 22, he had spent nearly a third of his life incarcerated.
Peering out of his round, black-rimmed glasses, he talked about his seven months at Homeboy Industries (the largest gang reentry program in the country), and about how he had moved quickly from the janitorial team to become an assistant in the accounting department. "I used to steal money," he said. "Now I'm counting it."
I had the honor of witnessing Lorenzo's seven-month journey from convict to accounting assistant, watching as he became the young man God had in mind when he made him. But despite his remarkable turnaround and the many things he had to offer an employer, Lorenzo's prospects for finding a job outside our program were dim.
Opportunities for second chances are few for people like Lorenzo. Homeboy Industries is about the only game in town. Most employers just aren't willing to look beyond the dumbest or worst thing someone has done.
Another "homie" recently came to me for help after, for the third time, he was let go from a job because his employer had discovered he'd done five years in prison. He told me the boss said, "You're one of our best workers, but we have to let you go." Then, with a desperate sadness, the young man added: "Damn, G. No one told me I'd be getting a life sentence of no work."
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
The mark of our society as civilized will come when we embrace confidence in the power of redemption.
Gregory J. Boyle, a Jesuit priest, is executive director and founder of Homeboy Industries. He is the author of "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion."
Another liberal priest wanting to lay a guilt trip on employers for not hiring gang-bangers covered in tats, full of attitude and still hanging out in "clubs".
How many times should society turn the other cheek and forgive sociopaths? And put them in the front of the line, ahead of those who chose to work hard, take advantage of the educational opportunities offered and lead honest lives.
They should be out there talking to young people on the streets instead of Boeing or other employers, who rightfully seek clean employees rather than "former" bangers looking for social justice with an attitude and history of violence.
*shrug* I’ve hired former felons. The key word being former.
Maybe if he had TOLD his employer about his past instead of the employer “discovering” those facts, this would have had a different outcome. If I were to learn that my employee had effectively lied to me, I would have to assume that individual would be deceptive on the job.
With our economy/job market being the way it is, if you were a former gang member, or anything of the like, your ARE screwed when it comes to getting a desirable job. There’s no shortage of good experienced people looking for work. Someone with a criminal record won’t have a chance when competing with such people, and for an increasingly limited numbers of positions. Hope and change isn’t gonna do them a damn bit of good!
I’ve hired many reformed addicts and felons. Did everyone work out? No but some became my best employees. You don’t know Lorenzo and I doubt you know yourself.
Gee, maybe he should have thought about that before deciding to become a gang-banger.
Granted, I don’t have a business and I’m not an employer. However, I would have a hard time hiring someone who looked like the photo of one of the gang bangers. Shaved head with tattoos on it? Now, if someone came to me and told me of their past openly and talked about how they have since changed perhaps, just perhaps, I would hire him on a temporary basis in order to see if they are truly changed or just lying. Just a thought.
Real Front Office material there.
Yikes, does he have some kind of eyebrow disease?
Yeah I know it’s tattoos but it looks like a disease. I wonder if anyone has told him yet?
You can’t expect somebody who is younger than 13, the age when youth often join gangs, to know it isn’t the smartest move one can make in life.
“There’s no shortage of good experienced people looking for work”.
You are right. A friend of mine recently applied for a retirement job with the Park Service in Pennsylvania. The job requirements were a high school degree, clean record etc.. (nothing extensive). Who got the two jobs? Two people with Masters degrees. One of those candidates had some time working on a Ph.D. (salary is $30,000 grand a year). Employers have a vast number of very good qualified people to hire with no gang ties, felony records, drug convictions etc... The best candidate should get the job IMHO. Not the one who has brought pain and criminal activity with them as baggage.
Yes, there are those felons who will turn their lives around. But I’m sure those you hired were only a small percentage of felons you had apply. How many of those felons you did hire were gang-bangers?
These former gang bangers could find some real work by getting away from the inner cities. Loggers, farmers, ranchers, mills, and other hard working jobs are crying for help. I guess the clubs and the continued association with gang life are too much of a draw for them.
Unfortunately, this guy's story confirms that -- in a bad way.
When I was in middle school I had one visit from a group of narcotics detectives from the local police department. Back then, this was the extent of the police department's anti-drug effort in schools. It was one of the most effective presentations I've ever seen. The lieutenant of the narcotics squad held up a couple of small plastic bags -- one filled with white powder and the other with brown powder. He asked if we knew what these were. One kid raised his hand dutifully and said he thought the white powder was cocaine. A couple of other kids guessed at what was in the second bag, and one finally said: "Heroin."
"No, this isn't cocaine and heroin, kids," the detective said, dangling the little bags in the air in front of the class (almost playfully), "this is John Belushi right here, and you're never going to see him alive again because this is all he was."
This was just several weeks after Belushi had died of a drug overdose.
Well if we made a better example of punishing gang bangers, i.e., sending them all to Gitmo, then maybe they’ll get the message.
“You’re one of our best workers, but we have to let you go.”
There are plenty of gangbangers on death row. Also many gang bangers are given instant death sentences in other countries. Who still have gang problems.
You’re not going to solve this problem upping the punishment.
Guess you don’t believe in redemption and giving people a chance to put right their mistakes and move on then? I know some scumbags, maybe even most, will stay scumbags their whole lives, but people who do put the effort in to change deserve to the chance to put their past behind them, if they haven’t committed a crime that warrants a life sentence or the death penalty, in which case it should be up to God in the next life to redeem them...
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