Alpha Male Ryan: Hunting for a job with a record.

How do you get from prison to a good paying job? As Alpha Male Ryan notes, it's a difficult, painful path to walk for an ex-felon. (Sketch and photo by Alpha Male Ryan).

Editor’s Note: Anyone who has ever applied for a job knows that the application form will ask them about their address, education, work history – and whether they’ve ever been convicted of a felony. For most people, they simply check off no and move on. For Alpha Male Ryan, who just completed a two year sentence in a Florida prison, that’s not an option. And he has some thoughts about the barriers that a supposedly enlightened society puts in place for those with a criminal record.
Society loves to give convicts a stigma. Problem is, they don’t always know what they’re talking about.
A lot of people in society assume that because someone may have been convicted of a felonious crime, that when they’re released from prison, they’re now less than everyone else.
There are thousands of people who are on felony probation, and society doesn’t necessarily cast a downtrodden eye on them, or a judgemental eye – ‘Ohh, you’re a bad person, because you’re on probation.’ Most of them don’t even know they’re on probation.
The problem with being a convicted felon is if you try to get hired, they know it. It’s a part of your criminal history. On every application, they’re going to ask you, “Have you been convicted of a crime?” It’s a matter of public record. And if people find out, some of them might judge you prematurely because you’ve been in prison. How is that fair?
People commit felonies every day. That doesn’t mean that they’re any better or any worse because they haven’t gotten caught. There are plenty of high ranking politicians who commit felonies every day — knowingly, in fact — and you know what, they never get caught. So that makes them better than me simply because they never paid the price for their crime?
I did pay for my crime, with a two year prison sentence that I served, so why do I have a stigma in certain people’s eyes, in certain circles?
I’ve actually paid my dues. Put the stigma on the guys who have never paid their dues, or who have gotten caught but received nothing — no prison sentence at all — just because of who they are.
Why do we get stigmatized because we got caught and served our sentences? Do we stigmatize all of you once you make a mistake in your life?
I’ve worked off my crime. Why shouldn’t I have certain rights restored to me? Let them give me my gun licenses back so I can carry a pistol and go back to work so I can support my family.
I hear all this bulls**t all the time about recidivism and rehabilitation. Let me tell you, all the system does is ensure there will be more recidivism. They strangle you when you get out of prison and expect you to survive. They put a rope around your neck and say Okay, any little thing and you’ll be back in prison. They don’t say ‘Here’s a job that can support you and your family, it’s going to pay you a good wage, it’s going to pay you a wage that actually pays your bills and lets you live a little bit. You did good in prison, so here you go.’
The simple truth is, this is not going back to what you actually learned in prison. What you learn behind bars is if you can get your hands on these particular drugs, you can sell them and make a lot of money. There’s a lot of drugs in prison you can sell.
Now you know how to make $10,000 inside a prison. This is what you learn in prison. Whether you do it or not is up to you.
How is that not promoting recidivism?
They don’t even give you state assistance when you get released. They don’t hook you up with work. They don’t hook you up with any help at all. They just say, ‘All right, you’re out of prison, you’re on your own. Stay out of trouble.’
Now you’re out of there, you’ve got a family to take care of. You’re trying to make moves and make investments and hustle – but hustle legally. And in the back of your mind, you know, Man, if I want to go get me an easy $10,000 in a week, all I have to do is flip that criminal switch. Now, you might ask, is it tempting? Hell, yeah, it’s tempting. Slide into the shadows, into the dark side … do what it takes to make a couple of ten grand in a week.
Then slide back into the light, and hopefully I don’t have any of that shadow left on me.
Because I don’t want to bring the darkness home.
What does the state need to do to change this? I would think that would be obvious. Help inmates find jobs – good paying jobs, so they can support themselves and their family…
… and not slide into the dark.

Contact Alpha Male Ryan at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.
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6 Responses to “Alpha Male Ryan: Hunting for a job with a record.”

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  3. Luke says:

    The system doesn’t do anyone any justice with the lack of focus on actual rehabilitation, I’ll give you that. But to complain that the state doesn’t give one aid after their release from prison is a little ridiculous. There are halfway houses, and programs such as that.

    If someone is convicted of a crime, they’re being punished. Part of that punishment is putting their life back together.

    As for having a record putting one in a different class, while I understand your point of view better than you might realize, if a person has been convicted of stealing, one can assume they’re more likely to steal than the average citizen. They don’t have that thing inside that says “don’t do that, it’s against the rules”. Most people have it, they might not steal the hundred they find lying outside the safe that they’ll never get busted for stealing, meanwhile the person who doesn’t have that “don’t do it” guy on their shoulder doesn’t have any moral problem doing it, their only problem doing it is avoiding the punishment. If I’m an employer, I’d prefer hiring someone I can at least hope has some morals, as opposed to someone I know doesn’t.

    Crime pays, but crime pays for a reason-it’s high risk. You took those risks, and you paid for taking them. Don’t try pawning them off on everyone else.

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