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How to Get a Job After Getting out of Prison

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 24, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The transition from life in prison to life outside can often be jarring, at best. If you're not lucky enough to have a ride home and a supportive network, that adjustment can be even worse.

Finding a job can be the hardest part about transitioning back into society. Despite all the programs and incentives available to make it easier ex-cons easier, some of the old hurdles -- fear, prejudice, etc. -- still exist. So here are a few ideas for getting a job after jail.

Tax Credits Give Employers an Incentive to Hire You

The government, public social services, and private charities have all recognized the positive effects employment can have on someone after they've been released from prison. Therefore, there are more incentives than ever for employers to hire felons.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is the biggest. This program can give employers anywhere from $1,200 to $9,600 in tax credits for hiring ex-cons. At the same time, certain cities and counties have begun to give preference to contractors who hire ex-offenders.

Not every employer is aware of the benefits of hiring someone who's served time, so it may be up to you to educate your future boss.

Employers Can't Outright Ban Hiring Ex-Cons

That's not to say it's all sunshine and roses for ex-inmates in the job market: having a record may still keep you from getting a job. But there may be some ways around that.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released guidelines saying that a blanket ban on hiring ex-cons could violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Therefore, an employer's exclusionary policy or practice must be job related and consistent with business necessity, or they could be sued.

Expunge Your Criminal Record

There are also ways to expunge a criminal record, depending on the crime and the jurisdiction. This means that employers would not be able to see convictions when they perform background checks, although there may some instances where you may have to disclose an expungement.

Even with these incentives and ways to ways to protect yourself, finding a job may not be easy. You should seek out one of the many programs offering employment services for felons, and FindLaw offers extensive resources on the hiring process.

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