My employment was discharged yesterday.
The circumstances around my discharge are such farce, that I feel compelled to share.
I am 31 years old today, I plead no contest to an attempted sexual assault 9 years ago. I was 22, and the plaintiff was 19 at the time.
Ultimately, I spent 2+ years in prison, released in 2012.
For 3 years I worked for my family in the midwest.
I moved to Florida to be near my partner’s family in 2015.
I have scraped by with odd jobs and I have been loosely involved in criminal justice reform efforts these past 3 years.
For the past 7 months, I have worked with a local Reentry Coalition.
3 months ago, the coalition director and I met with the director of our local reemployment offices.
One month ago, the director of reemployment suggested that I apply to work there, she said that she was about to launch a reentry program inside her offices, and I could help with that.
That’s all I ever wanted: to take what I’ve learned through this struggle and help others find gainful employment, fulfillment, and acceptance.
To work with employers in efforts to develop empathy and understanding.
I started the job 12 days ago.
The Reemployment director was out of town that first week, so I just watched training videos and received on-boarding advice from my colleagues.
This week, I was slated to begin shadowing mentors, applying what I learned in training.
But, on Thursday, the director pulled me aside and told me that she and the corporate office were dreadfully shocked to find out that I am on the registry.
I was dumbfounded that someone I have known for 3 months was surprised about my status, my label.
While I do not introduce myself as a “registered person” I DO introduce myself as a “formerly incarcerated person” and, if anyone asks what circumstances led to my incarceration, I tell them.
She never asked. NONE of the multiple interviewers asked at any point throughout my application process.
“I just assumed you had drug charges or something like that”!
She said yesterday, in an attempt to reflect the blame onto me.
That’s the story.
I was hired to help build and implement a project dedicated to building understanding and reemploying people with legal histories…
But… I was let go… Because of my legal history,
Because of my status on the registry.
I don’t even know how to process the sheer, overwhelming cognitive dissonance underpinning this situation.
I hope this has some sort of value for you, fellow reader.
If you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.
In the meantime, I will continue my work with the local reentry coalition…
I hope to be of service to NARSOL however possible.
Thanks for reading.