Judge Mathis Looks at Life After Prison

Most of us know what it’s like to look for a job when you don’t have one. But imagine doing that after being physically disconnected from your community, perhaps for years, with little education or work experience, and a criminal conviction that you now have to explain to an employer. All this and more (managing housing issues, drug treatment needs and family relationships are three common examples) confront formerly incarcerated people when they come home and need a job.

Last month, the Judge Mathis Show featured an episode on the role played by employment in the lives of people with criminal convictions. The judge, who is himself formerly incarcerated, understands first-hand what it’s like to bear the burden of a criminal past and how important it is to leave that past behind.

That’s why he invited the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO; an Open Society grantee) and the National HIRE Network on his show. Roberta Meyers-Peeples from HIRE spoke about employment reentry strategies to a roomful of CEO clients who had come home from prison.

Securing a job after prison is crucial not just for the job seekers, but for their families and communities. It also touches on some of the most pressing economic and public policy issues facing us as a country. A successful employment reentry strategy can improve public safety, help governments reduce spending on costly prisons and jails during tough economic times, reduce poverty and joblessness for some of our most disadvantaged citizens and build the economic prosperity of communities. Employment reentry can also promote family stability and a healthier future for millions of children in the United States who have parents in the criminal justice system.

Projects like the one featured on the Judge Mathis Show are designed to help break down barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people by advocating for policy change and offering “how-to” workshops. With the same goal in mind, for over 30 years, CEO has offered immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively to men and women with criminal records.

We applaud Judge Mathis for his commitment to this issue and for bringing it national attention.

CEO is proud to be a founding member of the National HIRE Network and of its continued partnership with them to support the employment needs of formerly incarcerated people.

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life is hard as is being i was convicted of robbery in 93 an 94..god has giving me the strength to change and better my life..i love cutting hair but have no license.i was cutting in a shop,but others got jealous of my work and called the state to report an unlicensed barber cutting in a shop.times are hard and i'm getting the run around from financial aid!i found a school where i could pay three thousand dollars to get my barber license's but money is funny. what can i do? got bills to pay and a family to support..

I am a mother of 4 I have been in and out of jail. I can't find a job. I did get married but I be damn if he didn't go to jail and he still in there we both come from a good home. I just need a head start on life I no you are a busy man. We just had a house fire and lot everything so its harder now that I have to start all over I owe it to my kids. And myself. I just need a little help like getting my record clear it will mean so much to us I will be willing to do what u say when u say it. This is just the raw part of my story. Its more but iam not trying. To hold u. But thanks for taken the time to read this. Please don't forget I know u have your on problems but I really need your help so I can help myself and kids and others. THANK GOD FOR YOU. AND GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

my name is joel long i did nine years in prison i got my ged in prison now i have my own program called what about the felons inc. we try to help x felons find jobs life skills i worked as a dishwasher for 4 years but now i am 24 hour oxygen would love to meet you program number 336 327 5698 Greensboro n.c. i been save now for 7 year god is first my wife drives our church van shes my rock

Thank you for not forgetting men and women with similiar struggles as you went through. I tried to forget about my felonies (2) convictions from 20 years ago by being very Blessed of owning my own businesses and working as an independent contractor and paying for leads to get accounts. But just recently! I have lost my biggest account forcing me to file bankruptcy and get a part-time job until my business is built back up again. But as I am trying to be as truthful as possible with filling out applications. The employers aren't calling back or giving me a lot of cold shoulders for not hiring me for a simple position of driving. Even though I have got maybe 2 or 3 speeding tickets in over 20 years and never went back in front of a judge again since being convicted 20 years ago. It's tough getting judged on something you have been totally delivered from and keep your head up to know that doing right always is the best way. More so now because its a necessity to provide for my household, daughters (2), and wife. They look at Daddy as being able to do anything and everything. If it is possible to help me espounge my record or get a certificate of release so that I won't have this post over my profile after becoming a productive- tax paying citizen- member of my daughters school foundation- memeber of my subs HOA- Freemason (Royal Arch Member) and an inventor (tailsigns.com) and my 2 girls are honor students. Any advice or feedback would be good. I appreciate knowing that goodness in some folks still exist. Keep your standards.
Michael Mims

I have only one criminal case in my 54 years on earth. I paid my debt to society for for the criminal act I committed in 3/2006. I served 23 days in jail, completed anger management classes, completed half of the 5 year probation (early termination), and paid my probation in full (2010). Now I am homeless, and can't get a job nowhere. I never imagine I would be a homeless grandmother. Help me please! to become a productive, taxpaying citizen again! I need help ASAP! PLEASE!

Hi, I'm George Davis and bp Lorenzo Benjamin are going to start a non-traditional training center for convicted felons, high school drop outs, single parents, & basically anyone who's having problems seeking employment for any reason. Who is willing to make a change in their life.
Our goal is to educate, inform, and empower our community's young adults with a skilled trade that leads to employment.
Our center which is Northwest Florida Restoration Center Inc., in Pensacola Florida. We will offer courses in the following:

Faith base conflict resolution
Money management
Furniture restoration
Small Engine repair
Drapery & Custom Bedding
Sewing & Alterations

We also are promoting entrepreneurship for convicted felons by teaching how to start their own business.

If there is anything your organization can do to help this dream become a reality it highly appreciated. Or point us in the right direction for the things needed such as funds, security, or simply how to go by putting this thing together the right way. "THANKS FOR YOUR TIME"

I have a son that's 25 and on parole did 6months in prison and a single parent and I don't want him to go back there he is my only son could you please help me.Thanking you advance

Is there someone that can really help felons get back into society after serving all of their time with no violations or anything? I wrote Judge Mathis on several occasions but I have never gotten any response from him. I don't know who can help us.

I am a huge fan of Judge Mathis and his show,I respect how real he is.From experience,he know's a lot more than other judges do.It's great what does for people (men & women)coming from jail and getting them a job.It does higher for their self esteem and their families in the end, keeping them from going right back into breaking the law.There really is plenty of jobs for them, warehouse, construction labor,kitchen.Not everyone of them,but actually most of them have more feeling and a heart than they show.They have to act tough,but when it comes to seeing their mom or kids visit them in prison,a lot of them tear up.My father was locked up in various jails/prisons including Joliet most of my life but I know I was on his mind a lot.When I did see him as he was passing from lung cancer,I was given all the pictures of me I didn't know he had and was told by his close friends and ex-girlfriend at his hospice that he thought of me all the time.He told me one of the few times I did see him that the only man he ever respected was my Dad (step-father).He grew up poor,with not a lot jobs in town (East Peoria) & was white so color doesn't matter with some points.I'm not defending what he did but especially back then they(government) didn't try to help anyone that came out of jail/prison.Out of all the reality shows,that should be one that ACTUALLY REALLY means something .Have a man or woman that from jail/prison that wants to work,take care of themselves & family and start changing society at least just a little.Heck I would even be proud to host the show. I have my own experience twice over unfortunately, not only my father was arrested a few times,but so have I.I'm working on changing myself now and have always wanted to help other people in some way.I'm just done with feeling sorry for myself(had seizures and bad for 22 years until brain surgery now none),no time with father and holding back from becoming something(because of seizures).But I had bad attititude because of personal and mental reasons.Now wether it's a host for that kind show which I think would be great or becoming a CT or MRI Radiologist (which I've had many of each),I just wanna start helping other human beings as my neorologist surgeon did for me.Thanks again Judge Mathis for this awesome program you organized,hope to meet you someday and shake your hand.You're are good man and father/dad,which hardly any men these days are are all three.~Sincerely,BTL IV

I'm a felon,and I wanna know how do I enroll in this program

One cannot over emphasize the importance of employment to a person who has recently been released from jail/prison. It provides, first and foremost, a strict routine, to which they have become accustomed inside. There is no lying around doing nothing inside. If you are not in school, getting your GED, then you are required to work, either in food service, maintenance and upkeep of the ground, warehouse, clerical, whatever. The prison depends on inmate labor. So the structure a job provides is key to an individual who may have had a chaotic upbringing.
Of course, the money it provides gives the person the ability to provide housing, transportation, clothing, food, whatever the immediate needs are. Also, the aftercare programs in place help with money management, counseling and any other assistance needed, such as putting the person in touch with other agencies that reach out to lend a hand for a person actively working to help themselves.
The former inmate already is ashamed of himself, he needs to be able to actively re-build is self-esteem and being gainfully employed is a good way to do that. But, I WILL say that counseling should be almost required by the probation/parole departments as they are the first line of assistance a former inmate comes in contact with once released.
This counseling can encourage patience regarding employment, teach them to take ANY job, while looking for a better paying job, as this keeps his routine in place. This professional help can also assist with relationship issues that may have been re-activated since release. Some family members need to be avoided as they are critical and are not supportive.
This person would need to mend a lot of fences due to his bad behavior, and he would need to be able to make amends to those he has hurt.
With a lot of patience, a lot of hard work, and a lot of support a person can re-establish themselves a contributing member of society.

The parole/probation department is the first line of assistance a former inmate has.
A good officer will pick up on the needs of the client, put him in contact with any services that are available to him for employment training, schooling or counseling. The officer should learn what this clients' support system is, if any, and make appropriate recommendations.
The esteem of former inmates us usually very low and obtaining a job retains his routine that was put in place while incarcerated, and enables him to have something to be proud of.
This officer should also encourage him to make amends for harm done prior to incarceration, as this allows the client to rid himself of toxic feelings.
Again, the parole/probation officer is the first person a released inmate comes in contact with who is able to help him for back into society. The officer should also encourage the client to volunteer their time in some way that interests the client. A great way to build self-esteem while putting the client in the world of others who may actually have more problems than THEY do!

I heard his show I have a brother that's been in jail for almost 10 years when the three strike offender law just came in he had nothing but thay claim he knew alot but won't tell so thats why thay keeping him I also reached out to shawn allen running for ( DA) of srringfield mass who I meet at a church I was attending he gave me a card to call said he would speace to me that why he was at the church to speak about how he was gonna change things for the people been calling for 1year some times 2 to 3 times a week for weeks no responsed I gave up also his my brothers lawyer will not response called her for about a year.she stop respond I stopped altogeather until I seen judge mathis from Chicago know the street before he became a judge he got family friends on drugs and don't tolerate them know when thay lying judge mathis tell me the next step please
Kimm Roberson
24 crown street
Springfield mass 01108
PLEASE respond

Doesn't matter if you sold a caffeine pill (counterfeit drug trafficking) and got 6 months or helped to bring down the trade centers in a terrorist attack and served 10 years, you are a "FELON". It does not seem right and is against your constitutional rights to be judged and punished for a crime you were already convicted of. Being over age 50, a "FELON" and unable to find a job for the past four years is already a huge disadvantage in a time when 98 million are out of the work force. At this point I wonder if prison is not the better option. Disenfranchised and irredeemable for life!

Hi Ms. Tarlow. My name is Jacueline Johenkins. I am a ex-offender.I reside in Orange New Jersey. My last sentenced I served was for two concecutive sentences. The nature of the crimes were Shoplifting/Receiving stolen property. I served the sentence in Clinton, N.J. at Edna Mahan Facility for Women , from 2001-2006. I maxed out and realease 2006. I came home and attended Essex County Community College in Newark, NJ. My major field of study was Social Science and my minor was Paralegal Studies which was an excellent program conducted by Linda Carter Esq. I graduated and received an Associates in Social Science. I then transferred to New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ. My field of study was Sociology/Anthropology. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree, BA in the Sciences May 2016. I have had little jobs while in college that were unrelated to my field of studies. I am very passionate about helping the underserved populations, both substance abuse recovery as well as legal matters. I have been on interviews and it has been,extremely difficult to obtain work, viewing Judge Mathis court shows has inspired me to stick ith my passion. My request is , is there a website you have for ex-offenders or possible connections here in NJ that you may can assist me with? I would appreciate it
Thank you so much.

If you are a felon you can't vote. So I feel you should not be allowed to be a judge either. A past felon should not be allowed to judge others no mater what.

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