Ex-offenders get a second chance - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Ex-offenders get a second chance

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)--  People are rallying at the state capitol today to support second chances for people with a criminal past.

The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition is behind the rally and they work to raise awareness about barriers people with criminal records face.

They says they'll focus on 3 things in 2012: Expanding work opportunities for people with criminal records, limiting access to juvenile records, and restoring voting rights for people with felony convictions who are on probation or parole.

So how hard is it to for an ex-offender to find work here in Rochester?

Walter Bush, who works at a Next Chapter Ministries (a re-entry program for ex-offenders) says, "When you come home you know that you're going to face problems, there are difficulties finding jobs because no one trusts you...no one wants to give you a chance."

For some it can be a touchy subject and definitely a bit worrisome to employers

Bush goes on to say, "At first they think, well I can't trust them...or as soon as I turn my back they're going to steal everything I've got."

Antonio Gray lives at one of the Next Chapter Ministry houses in Rochester, and says he knows first hand how one mistake can have a long lasting impact

Gray says, "I have one crime that I committed in the past and that was it, it's not like I'm a repeat offender and that seems to want to follow you everywhere you go."

Especially when it comes to finding jobs.

Gray explains, "You know tell them about your criminal history and they say it doesn't eliminate you from the job, but it is definitely looked at...and most of the time employers don't want to deal with that."

Where the goal of the Next Chapter Ministries is to restore ex-offenders with God, family and the community.

Bush explains, "You've got to be willing to step up at some point and take a chance on someone, you know we have all made mistakes and we all deserve a second chance, because if we weren't given a second chance by God where would we all be."

Powered by Frankly