So, here’s my story. I am a sex offender and I served 11 years, 8 months, and ? days straight before I was paroled. During my incarceration, I was told several times by therapists and other inmates that if I ever did get the opportunity to parole, I wouldn’t make it more than 6 months before being sent back to prison. Not necessarily for committing another sex crime but more than likely for breaking some rule of my parole. Here I am 3 years, 10 months, and 7 days (and counting) out on parole, never having been sent back to hell on earth. I got myself out, and stayed out, and there’s not a damn thing anyone of those so-called therapists or inmates can do about it. I am ME and I… WILL… OVERCOME!!!
I refuse to conform to some arbitrary label that society wants to define me by. Nobody defines me but me. My biggest hurdle right now is finding the balance between advocating for myself and not taking things so personally. I am more than willing to talk with people (particularly potential employers) about the bad choices I’ve made but more importantly: my accomplishments along the road to recovery.
The struggle comes when employers write me off because of what they read on a criminal background check and then not being able to get a chance to prove my value to their business. This leads to taking jobs that accept felons and, as such, treat their employees poorly – paying them next to nothing knowing full-well that we, as felons and particularly people who’ve been convicted of sex offenses, don’t have a whole lot of choices when it comes to work.
Currently, I’m going to school and hope to graduate in the next three years. Once I finish my degree I hope to permanently leave the US and apply my trade somewhere else.
Education is the way out. A continuous state of self improvement disciplines the mind and opens doors. We have a very high standard to achieve when it comes to proving our value to society. I found that my Masters degree generates a considerable respect within the academic community. Keep fighting. One mistake does not define who we are