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Ex Offender Resources to Help You Get Back on Your Feet

Apr 22, 2018Blog

Being arrested is one of the worst things that can happen. Even if you did not commit the crime you are accused of, it can result in you losing your job, your home, even your family. Fortunately, society does offer resources to help people get back on their feet.

The most obvious are reentry programs. Reentry programs are designed to help offenders find jobs, go back to school, and get counseling. Some of these programs are more specialized. For example, Ridge House provides residential and out-patient assistance to addicts.

Reentry services can include mentoring, a focus of Hope For Prisoners. They also offer training in financial planning, communication and public speaking, problem solving and conflict resolution. The state Department of Corrections has its own re-entry programs that include anger management training and parenting classes. They also have programs to help offenders get their high school diploma or equivalent and offer vocational training to inmates and those recently released.

Finding a job can be a particular challenge, especially for felons. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation works to help anyone with difficulty finding a job. They also administer the ban the box guidelines, which prohibit checking the criminal record of anyone applying for a public job except for cops, firefighters, and positions that allow access to the Nevada Criminal Justice Information System until after the interview, and prohibit disqualifying somebody for an arrest that did not result in a conviction, a misdemeanor with no jail time, or a conviction that was dismissed or expunged. Private employers are not required to follow these guidelines, but Jobs for Felons lists employers who will give people with a rap sheet a second chance. They also have listings of landlords that will rent to felons and ex-offenders. Nevada has also recently taken an important step to help people get back on their feet, allowing for the sealing of criminal records if somebody stays on the straight and narrow for five years in the case of felonies and one year for misdemeanors (previously, it was 15 years for felonies and two years for misdemeanors). Most states do not allow felony convictions to be sealed at all.

For families of offenders, Friends and Family of Incarcerated Persons has regular support group meetings in Las Vegas for people who have or had a loved one in prison. These support groups can help keep offenders from losing their family by helping their family communicate with them while they are jailed.

Housing is the final challenge. Some offenders may spend time in a halfway house before being released. Halfway houses generally provide employment training, counseling and other help including living skills and financial literacy classes. The state is trying to avoid the situation of ex offenders being released with a bus ticket back to where they came from and nowhere to actually go. Halfway houses often also have programs designed to help ex offenders reintegrate with their families.

Nevada has also partially opted out of a 1996 federal ban on drug offenders getting welfare or SNAP, although they do require offenders to comply with treatment. A proposal to change this was vetoed in May of 2017. Unfortunately, there is still a national ban on lifetime registered sex offenders and some drug offenders getting public housing. Other ex offenders can generally get welfare if they need it and HUD does provide a discount to felons. Large apartment buildings are the most likely to reject applications from felons and the best option is to look for transitional housing, especially for drug offenders. Sex offenders may be restricted from living in certain places. Nevada has no specific restrictions, but parole officers have to approve residency.

There are, in other words, a lot of resources for ex offenders in Nevada. One important thing to remember is that arrest is not conviction, and that the situation you may end up in depends on the nature of the crime you were convicted of. For more information, contact 8-Ball Bail Bonds today.