STARTING OVER AS A FELON
It’s no secret that African Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, yet for some reason statistics show that we make up 35% of jail inmates and 37% of prison inmates. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African Americans constitute nearly 2.3 million of the 6.8 million incarcerated population, and six times more likely to face incarceration than that of a white person. But I mean…of course you knew that. So how can one start over when everyday they’re faced with adversity? It’s hard, especially when you have a criminal background. Trust me I know…..no, seriously I know the feeling. I know first hand how it feels to go to jail over a serious charge and then have to come out and figure out how to pick up the pieces, and believe me when I say society does not make it easy to do it either.
When you have a criminal background, even if you only have a charge, it will show up on your record and when it shows up on your record, you will automatically be treated like the scum of the earth. Let me tell you…it will be very hard to get a good job, it will be very hard to find a place that will rent a house to you. Oh, you want financial assistance, huh? Yeah you may as well go ahead and squash that lil’ dream.
But where there is a rainstorm, there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
So with that being said what they don’t tell you is that the statistics for incarceration, especially for black men have changed drastically. So what are you saying, Tiana? I’m glad you asked, I’m saying, FUCK WHAT THE MEDIA IS TELLING YOU! They aren’t telling you that according to the Justice Department Figures, 193,000 college-aged black men are incarcerated, while 532,000 college-aged black men are actually in college. They also don’t tell you that even if you have been to prison or still in prison that you have access to resources that will help you take those necessary steps for a second chance at life. I mean why would they point you to this information anyway? They want to see you fail, but fuck that, I’m going to do my best to find as much information so we can all win. With that being said here is a list of resources that will help you…from housing, to school, to jobs.
First let’s start with grants!
WHAT ARE GRANTS?
A grant is money that is given to a person and it doesn’t have to be repaid! Most of the time, grants are issued on a “need” basis. What that means is if someone has a full-time job making 75,000 a year, they will not qualify for a grant, however, anyone making 10,000 a year or nothing they would qualify, because they have a “need” for it. Grants for felons can be issued by the state that you live in or the federal government. Some private institutions also offer grants to felons.
POINT EM’ OUT POINT EM’ OUT!
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR GRANTS
The department of labor has a employment and training administration, who has several programs for felons that are pre-release as well as for ex-felons that are out of prison. They can cover many subjects, like housing, transportation, small businesses and even community development. Simply got to Grants.gov and search and fill out the required information on the application package associated with that grant. Link is below:
EDUCATIONAL PELL GRANTS FOR FELONS
Now listen, Pell Grants are strictly for educational purposes only and are open to almost all felons. Before I continue let me go off a little…the war on drugs have been mostly geared towards communities that thrive with people of color WHO are more likely to receive higher sentences, but you know what, I will get into details of that in another post. I just had to get that information out there. With that being said felons who have received drug related drug charges are bared from receiving the Pell grant…what a coincidence…hump, but its all good, because there’s a way around that. All you have to do is complete an approved drug rehabilitation program and pass two random drug tests, then you’re in there like swimwear baby! Link below:
——> https://fafsa.ed.gov/ <——-
Now keep in mind that students with criminal convictions are limited when it comes to financial aid, but nearly 100% of each case can be conquered in some way. Also, Pell Grants are available to use at any approved or credential college or trade school. But I should tell you that white collar jobs often discriminate against those with a criminal background so you may want to look into a blue collar trade school, they are just as good. Click the link below to read more about Pell grants.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FELONS
A scholarship is kind of like a grant, but the difference between the two is with a scholarship, it’s based off mostly where the money comes from. Scholarships are generally give by schools or organizations who don’t expect you to pay it back. It is very possible for a felon to get a scholarship and you should apply to everyone you come across…because I mean…why not? lol. While I’m not sure there are scholarships for felons only, you will be able to apply to 99% of tem out there. Most of the time, to earn a scholarship all you have to do is write an essay and you could get from $1,000 up to $5,000 for school or college. Below is a link to a list of scholarships available to you.
Lastly, will be loans.
LOANS FOR FELONS
What is a loan? Good question, a loan is money that you borrow and then repay under whatever conditions you agreed upon in the contract. Terms of a loan can vary greatly, so before you sign your name make sure you READ READ READ please READ the guidelines, because loan sharks can be very slick, and they will get over, especially if they know you don’t know, so again I say READ THE GUIDELINES! Anywho..certain types of loans have more interest than others, the highest interest loans are called short term loans or “payday loans.” Often times these type of loans can have rates from 100% to 2000%.
Okay so now that you know that, what type of loans are available to you?
EDUCATIONAL LOANS FOR FELONS
There is a chance that you will not have enough grant money to pay for all of your education. With that being said you will have to apply for student loans from the federal government. Nearly everyone qualifies for student loans since credit scores are not as important than that of traditional loans.
Being a convicted felon also doesn’t hurt your chances of getting a student loan either. The criteria for student loans straight to the point and easy to understand as well. Student loans can be used for trade schools, traditional schools and online schools, but just like Pell grants, if you have drug convictions you will have to complete drug education or drug rehab classes.
Although it’s not entirely impossible for convicted felons to get private loans from a bank. The chance is greater if said crime was committed 10 years or more and you have decent credit. Shoot, ever since the financial crisis in 2008 banks have tightened up.
There are 3 ways you can get a private loan:
- Collateral. In other words if you have something of great value then you can put that up for security to the bank or person you are borrowing from. This is high risk for you. If you do not pay the borrowed money back then you will lose whatever you put up for collateral.
- You should be able to get credit cards as a felon. Most Credit Card companies do not care if you are a convicted felon or not. They are mostly interested in what your credit score and history looks like. If you have poor credit then you may want to consider repairing it. This can easily be done on your own if you have the right knowledge and instructions. We will provide information that will point you in the right direction to fix/build your credit.
- If you need a private loan for an invention or small business then you are may have to raise money from private investors. This can be a very difficult task but can be accomplished if you put the time and energy into it.
SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
The US Small Business Administration has several different loan programs that you may qualify for. Many of the loans and grants that are available are only open to specific types of small business. They have several loan and grant programs and include general small business loans, disaster loans, Microloans and real estate/equipment loans. Here’s a link to a list of small business loans for felons
Now that you have this information, take it and use it to your advantage. Getting back on the right track after a slight mishap can be frustrating as well as complicated, but I know you may have people in your life that want to see you grab this thing called life by the balls. Everything is going to be alright…all it takes are a little bit of baby steps and a map to the right direction. So with that being said….We ARE the change. 🙂