Initially, I wanted to write one post called The Tangled Web. The aim was to cover the topic of trust and deception, and I did that, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was too much left unsaid (or unwritten). So, I composed a second part, but still felt as if I should’ve written more.
I know how it feels to be released from prison, hoping a life of legality and responsibility would in some way prove to others that I’ve relinquished the craziness of my youth, that I’ve changed, but I’m reminded of my mistakes with every job application I submit. It doesn’t seem to matter that I was arrested and convicted 25 years ago, when I was 16 years old. I’d still get denied mediocre employment positions because of it. I will tell you, the journey hasn’t been all bad, I mean, I got my Bachelors degree in English Lit (with a concentration in creative writing), and I was able to teach GED classes because of it, but the hours would fluctuate dramatically from one semester to the next and, after six and a half years, it became increasingly clear that I couldn’t rely on it as my main source of income, so I gave up teaching to seek out a way of life that I could settle down with.
But back to The Tangled Web. I feel it appropriate to talk about my struggles with securing meaningful full-time employment in this post because I believe the idea of acquiring it is one of the biggest deceptions for the ex-felon. Now, I’m not speaking negatively because I won’t tell you it can’t be done. There are countless stories of guys getting out of prison and thriving while utilizing those classic methods of progression society swears by. What I’m saying is that, for most ex-cons, if you wish to realize your dreams, you have to do it by unconventional means. You have to think outside the box because, let’s face it, most of those sought-after spots inside the box are reserved for people who do not have a felony conviction.
Now, for us ex-cons, we tend to get out of prison under the false impression that free society is a morally upstanding bunch. We often mistakenly believe the values of free people are somehow different from ours, and we regard this difference as the primary reason we landed in prison when, in actuality, the sole reason for our incarceration was that, as I’ve stated in a past post, we failed to adhere to a rule that society set in place. That’s it, nothing more. Being imprisoned isn’t a reflection of everything you are, it’s merely and simply a consequence of a past mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. “All have sinned…” (Romans 3:23) There isn’t a person on earth who’s infallible, but prison has a way of making it seem like the prisoner’s mistakes are somehow greater and more heinous than the free person’s mistakes. The truth is that the tobacco industry is responsible for killing more people in one year than every convicted murderer who is currently behind bars. And the medical industry creates drug addicts on a daily basis; more than 20 million people (in the U.S.) are currently addicted to prescription drugs. And Hollywood is currently under fire for sweeping aside rape accusations, and then annually doling out prestigious awards to those same people who raped so many women, never once holding these Hollywood execs responsible for the disgusting crimes they’ve committed. And the Catholic Church has been harboring and protecting pedophiles for decades, maybe centuries, and continued to do so even after thousands of Catholic Priests were accused of molesting children, I’m talking hundreds of thousands of accusations worldwide. So, fellow ex-felons, you’ve been released into a world that will flog you for stealing a loaf of bread to feed your family yet turn a blind eye to the millions of counts of murder and rape being committed by those within their own circles. So the idea that those never-been-incarcerated civilians, free society, is a morally upstanding bunch, well, that’s a joke, and it’s the biggest deception of all.