Can Convicted Criminals Be Self-Employed?

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Due to the increase in the rate of incarceration in America, the number of individuals belonging to the working age group has significantly decreased.  According to a study done by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, there was a decrease of around 1.5 to 1.7 percentage on employment rate for men back in 2008. Despite these criminals being reintegrated back to society, they are still left with few opportunities to enter the workforce.

Finding employment opportunities for criminals can be tough. A criminal record is known to reduce one’s chance of getting employed. Ex-offenders also end up competing against other individuals recently released from jail to get employed. Due to the limited companies willing to offer employment for ex-convicts, this becomes a hindrance on them being reintegrated properly to the society after they have served their time.

Taking away the stigma against those with prior convictions has always been a problem in the US. This is why it is so difficult for majority of ex-convicts to start fresh after serving their time. This leaves them isolated in society which could result to them going back to a life of crime.

This situation is even more difficult for individuals who would need to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes. Ex-offenders may get advice from a criminal defense lawyer on how to set up the terms of payment, where to get the resources on paying it, and how to pay the restitution. Luckily for ex-convicts, they can opt to set up their own business if they end up not getting a job elsewhere. Setting up a company for convicted criminals is now being encouraged in some states in America. Here are the things you should consider when starting your own business.

Deciding the type of business

Despite US government allowing you to setup your business, there are still certain restrictions imposed on the type of business you can get into. Individuals with criminal records are not allowed to get into the trucking or car rental services. The obvious step would be choosing the nature of your business based on your skillset. Majority of businesses owned by former convicts are mowing services, beauty parlors, and bakeries.

Seeking help from organizations
Former convicts should not be scared to venture into a new business as they can seek help from partner organizations that could assist them. In fact, prisoners could get the idea of setting up a business when they are serving their time. For example, a non-profit organization in Boston named Venturing Out teaches prisoners the basics of setting up a business. This allows prisoners to gain the basic knowledge and skills in turning their ideas into an actual and legitimate business. The curriculum already introduces the various issues ex offenders often face when they start their business. Problems such as being unable to secure a loan and also difficulties in acquiring business permits.

Dealing with criminal record as company owner
Individuals with criminal records still have the difficult task of disclosing their past to the government when setting up permits, business partner or investors, and even to their employees. This could be avoided by educating yourself on how to secure permits. Also, in the case of investors, former convicts can assure them by providing a well prepared business plan. The upside of being the owner of the company would be avoiding the trouble of trying to get along with your co-worker. It is only a matter of ensuring that the performance of the business is good.

Former criminals would no longer need to feel that they have no chance to restart their lives. There are tons of opportunities for them to start up their own business. They just need the right people and guidance to help them realize their capabilities. Fortunately, the means of setting up a business becomes less of a risk for them given the non profit organizations connecting them to angel investors.

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