Felons pleading for a second chance



Thank you for taking the time to inform me of the initial disqualification. I’ve attached an email I sent to Xxxxxx in HR. At the time I was applying for the position of Xxxxxxxxxx. The attached provides a broad overview of the situation; however, due to the magnitude and importance of this application allow me to expound a bit further. 

The information received from the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are factually correct. I cannot deny those facts nor dismiss the undismissable. I cannot change the past. But what I have done in the sixteen years since my conviction is to fundamentally change the person who I was. It has been a long hard road to disassociate myself from my criminal past. And not because the choice to do right was difficult. Recidivism was never an option for me. The current system is in place to protect its citizens from becoming victims of crimes. Full disclosures are necessary for people with felonies on their records.  I understand and agree wholeheartedly with that logic. What has been an ever present obstacle since my release are the policies in place and enforced that prevent convicted felons from true redemption.

I have been denied employment, housing, scholarships, opportunities because of the grave mistake I made sixteen years ago. I am still paying for my transgressions almost two decades later. If I had the power to turn back time and not commit my crimes I most certainly would. Unfortunately, that is not an option. What is an option is my ability to set forth change.  My road to redemption began with two simple steps every day.

  1. Look in the mirror and decide every day to always do the right thing.
  2. Regardless of the obstacles I may face to always keep positive and never give up.

I’ll throw in an extra step for the days in which depression, anxiety, and fear took over (and in the beginning post prison those days were plentiful)…

  1. In the event that the obstacles become too much, always revert to step number one.

Sixteen years of following these two easy steps. I am proud to see how far I have come. I’ve never went back to prison. I developed myself physically, spiritually, professionally, and emotionally.  In that time span, I have built a career. Established myself amongst my peers as reputable, dependable, and trustworthy. I became a board certified pharmacy technician through the nationally recognized PTCB. I also became a licensed and commissioned California Notary and loan signing agent. I became the Community Outreach Chairperson for Xxxxxxxxxx employee resource group representing the Americas. I was also elected as a co-chair for Elevate, a mentorship program for Xxxxxxxxx. I am the upcoming 2022-2023 school year Vice President of Fundraising on the (XXXXX) Board for xxxxxxxxxxxx.  

I have worked so hard to distance myself from my past transgressions. I worked so hard to position myself in places where I could seize opportunities. I surrounded myself with kind and open minded mentors who taught me the resiliency I needed to get this far. I have always wanted to work for and be part of a team that saw the value of my worth and not just my marred past. I have always wanted to work for a company who saw my potential for greatness in spite of my transgressions. 

More often than naught there is a whole pool of talent that is overlooked because the criminal history box is checked. I am not discrediting the validity of checking the box, but hiring managers should be open to revising the policy and having a discussion and digging deeper to expose a person’s true character. Just because I made a bad decision in 2006, should not disqualify or bar me from the opportunity to work for a great organization such as xxxxxx xxxxxx. There are a few others who have committed far greater crimes but because of race, gender, creed, financial or political affluence are still able to navigate through the private and public sector with ease. I come from humble beginnings and my only goal is to provide for my family and give hope to other people like me. I want to lead by example and be a living testimony that positivity is a force multiplier. 

I want to thrive as xxxxxxxxxx. I know I can do  this job. I know I can do it well.  I can provide additional references and I can be available for another panel interview.  Thank you for taking the time and giving me the opportunity to shed more light on my past. I look forward to hearing from you.




Josanne English


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