Just & Unjust: Forcing People into a Life of Crime.

 I know you have heard the expression ‘damned if you do and damned it you don’t.’  Never has that meaning been clearer to me than now.  I am referring to the people who serve their time in jail, paying their debt to society, only to find that society will never accept them.  

 That to me is absolutely cruel and unusual punishment.  Take the case of a young man who has put himself through school, graduated and landed a decent paying job. That young man has worked for a couple of years, earning a reputation as a hard worker and a dependable employee.  Now, the big kick:  Recently, the company decides to do a background check.  The background check reveals that the youngster once spent time in prison.  He becomes a casualty because company policy states no one can be employed who has a criminal record. 

 The youngster has already paid his debt to society.  He has rehabilitated himself.  Now society kicks him in the face and sends him back to the streets. 

 Society is wrong.  Instead of rejection, we should be embracing and applauding people for becoming productive citizens.  Is there any doubt that society is telling people with criminal records that crime is their only out?   What do you think?




  1. You are so true Norman. More and more companies are doing background checks and young people who have made a mistake in their teens are continuing to be punished. Its the same old story…someone did something bad and everyone has to pay. With all the crime going on in the workplace, who is doing it? Managers and Supervisors…not the work-a bees! When one can not trust the people who work for them, they are not trustworthy! Everyone deserves a chance to make their wrongs right! BTW…just because a person passes a background check does not mean they will not commit a crime!

  2. I never could understand that either! I mean in the case of the young man in the story I mean that is just awful and that employer should be ashamed of themselves for that one. That is true in how society is responsible for the crime rate and the criminal justice system is not responsible for the revolving door system that has plagued New Orleans for years its society. I mean there are good people who can’t work cause society has labeled them criminals. Nothing to do with the person its all a label and as long as society is dependent on labels many good people will be jobless and forced to do what they feel necessary to survive. What about all the crooks in city hall and the white house? Why are they able to get and keep jobs they are no better than the young man who paid his debts to society!

  3. It’s a double whammy for sure. In that casea any young, black men who have spent time iin prison and who attempt to rehabilitate their lives, will not stand a chance to become gainfully employed. As long as companies that hire perpetuate that policy instead of conducting a case-by-case evaluation of what the person has done with their lives since incarceration, we’ll keep having the crime rate escalate. It’s an unfair situation. Every person deserves a second chance to prove he can be a productive citizen. We all make mistakes.

  4. Who and/or what can force one into crime? Please…………smell the coffee, whatever happened to being responsible for our consequences and/or providing honest information initially? Sure, we make mistakes, however, being evasive and/or witholding the truth in the beginning helped perpetuate this end result. This situation could have been reviewed and grandfather claused into the company’s hiring practice as the employee was hired prior to the new policy. You really put a knat in the butter on this one, there was no mention of the actual crime itself, don’t you think that would have a bearing on a company’s decision? This does provoke many questions, I don’t know if it’s as cut/dry as put forth in your premise.

  5. I just wanted to say this, i believe that everyone that has a opportunity to succeed in life should do so, the justice system is not designed to really keep us out of trouble. if we want something to better our self we have to stay focused on what we have to do to get their. Jobs are not that easly to obtain anymore, and the more we try to beat the system the more harder it gets by society needing higher education, and recommendations from people we don’t even know. We need to stop blamming ourselves for mistakes that we made, and don’t let know one tell you that you can’t have what you want, because you can. We as parents need to teach our kids that having a education is the only way out, and that crime will only set you back futher from your goals.

  6. I think the statement ( paid your debt to society) means a lot to people coming out of jail. Many are ready to begin on a positive road only to be faced with negatives. Society in general thinks that (paid your debt to society) means branded for life. Why can’t society just accept them as people? This is the underlying source of repeat crime in our city. There is too much private information given out as public information. As long as you can perform the duties of the job I dont think you should be penalized for having a criminal record.

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