Convicted felon asks for second chance in job market

Convicted felon asks for second chance in job market

Everybody makes mistakes and some mistakes are harder to overcome than others.

Twenty two year old Jason Manuel knows that all too well.  He spent time in jail for simple burglary and is out now, but remains on parole.  One of the conditions of Manuel's parole is that he maintain employment, but he says he cannot find a job because of his criminal conviction.

Manuel is speaking out with the hope that more employers will give convicted felons a second chance as they try to get on the right track. "I go look for a job and I come home. And I go look for a job and I come home and that's it. That's all I do," said Manuel.

Manuel was released from jail July 1, after serving a year and a half for simple burglary. He takes to the streets each morning looking for a job, but he says most employers won't hire a convicted felon.  "I'm a hard worker and I believe in God and my faith is strong and I'm a Christian guy, you know. I just made a mistake. I don't want nobody to think that because I had a background, somebody should feel sorry for me. I don't want nobody to give me nothing but a job so I can earn my own keeps," said Manuel.

One of the conditions of Manuel's parole is that he maintain employment. Plus he says he wants to help take care of his disabled mom. "Most of my family is dead and I have a mom that needs my help. And because I broke the law my mama did without the whole time I was incarcerated," said Manuel.

And he can't stay in his sister's house, where he's now living.  "My brother in law is on parole and I can't live here, so I have to get another place. And if I don't get another place soon then I go back to jail," said Manuel.

Pauline Manuel agrees her son deserves a second chance. "He's a hard worker. I mean, he's a jack-of-all-trades," said Manuel, who insists if someone does hire him they won't be disappointed. "If nobody gives you a chance to work, what you gonna do? Your stomach's still going to ache and the bills are still going to come in every month."

Manuel knows finding a job and earning a living are key if he's to stay out of jail and become a productive citizen.

State Department of Corrections officials say about 15,000 state offenders get out of prison each year and many have nothing more than a bus ticket and ten dollars.

DOC officials say within five years half will be back in prison.

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