Coloradans who have previously been incarcerated may have a tough time re-integrating into society upon release. Many felons who have nowhere to go wind up homeless and placed into situations where they are likely to reoffend, whether they were convicted of DUI, violent crimes, or nonviolent drug crimes. Those who fight to reenter society often face barriers placed by unfriendly hiring and housing practices.

A homeless ex-convict faces many challenges today that bar him from working his way back up. One Colorado resident described his struggles when applying to a position at a printing plant in Longmont. Confident about his qualifications for the open position despite his criminal past, the interview did not go as expected and, to his disappointment, was cut short. The resident, who is homeless, felt that he was unfairly judged based on his appearance.

He is a three-time felon who had been to jail but not prison, struggling with the harsh reality of reintegration that 95% of the prison population that the Congressional Research Service expects will be reintegrated back into the community at some point will face when they are released. The majority of ex-felons like him will struggle to become contributing members of society without the proper support.

Currently, many employers and property managers employ policies that prevent those who are homeless with a criminal background from becoming productive members of society. Too often, a box appears on an employment or housing application forcing applicants to reveal that they have some kind of criminal history. A strong movement called “Ban the Box” is working to eliminate this box, which discriminates against those who have paid their debts to society.

Too often, employers and property managers will not even consider applicants who have checked the box. This fans the flames of the cycle which keeps people in unfortunate circumstances. The cycle of homelessness, recidivism, and toxic behaviors like drug abuse is what many ex-convicts cannot break free from when such policies are in place.

It was found in 2005 that of 404,638 prisoners released across 30 states, two-thirds were rearrested within 3 years. Over half of those who were rearrested were arrested for the subsequent time by the end of the first year. It is said that the first 72 hours upon a prisoner’s release are the most critical to prevent them from reverting back to a life of crime. Greater support from the community is needed for those who make an honest effort to get back to work.

According to the director of Focus Reentry, a local program in Boulder County which pairs inmates with mentors, many ex-criminals will get themselves re-arrested just so they have somewhere to go. Mentors in Colorado are working to help former inmates get their lives back on track and avoid the hardships of homelessness.

If you have been arrested and charged for a criminal offense in Golden, Colorado, attorney Miller Leonard, P.C. can help you fight the charges against you. Mr. Leonard has over 17 years of experience as a former State Prosecuting Attorney, a State Public Defender, and a Special Assistant United States Attorney. Whether you are facing DUI charges, assault and battery charges, or federal charges, discuss your case with Miller Leonard by calling (720) 613-8783 or scheduling an appointment online.


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