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April 15, 2009

Great Deal, No Takers: Ex-Cons for Hire in Philly

Philadelphia had an innovative way for businesses to deduct $10,000 from their taxes: hire an ex-con for at least six months. But there were no takers!

But the problem is not what it may seem. Read on to discover that, actually, many businesses were interested. However, one of the requirements was that their taking on an ex-con be made publicly known.

Now this is odd. It's hard to remember another situation, short of employing sex offenders in certain roles, where the hiring of an ex-con must be made public. Moreover, this particular plan seems friendly to the ex-con who needs work, so this requirement doesn't appear to be a public safety notice.

Perhaps it was meant to be a double play for public policy towards ex-cons: First, some get hired, but then the public gets more acclimated to seeing more ex-cons gaining employment. Well, if that's the case, how about forgetting about the public notice requirement and letting some former prisoners get a job? Then they can go out later, having made their way back into the world successfully, and tell others about this otherwise inspired program by the City of Philadelphia.

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Jason Taylor

It may be clumsey but the idea isn't without merit in principal. I've heard of unemployable ex-cons committing petty crimes just to get back into prison where they can be provided for.


Another instance of well intended government playing the piano while wearing boxing gloves. A friend of mine runs an auto repair shop. I'll let his business remain unnamed. He intentionally reaches out to and hires ex-cons. It is a mixed shop and not all the guys are ex-cons. No one wears a scarlet C and the guys in the shop know who's who. The shop is successful and busy and I refer lots of folks. I know there are ex-cons because the boss told me but I never whispered a word because no one needs to wear a scarlet C that they didn't sew on themselves.

Let's let business owners bring their offerrings in secret and let men wear the dignity that goes with a redeemed imago dei.


My quick summary of this article - The concept is good---but a lot of bugs to be worked out before it will work.

I have a bro-in-law coming out of prison soon. So this issue is close to my life!!!



I recently lost my job as a cable technician for only failing 7 out of 300 jobs. That is crazy because I put in so much work for this job, 18 hour days and they just let me go like that. This past week, I've been trying to find another job in the same field and I keep getting rejected because of a mistake I made 7 years ago when I was 17.It still shows on my record, I already paid my debt to God and society. Yet I'm still being punished as a grown man. This is really discouraging. I cant meet my basic needs and its making me miserable. I keep trying, but continuously being rejected is hard. Especially when I have the experience and hard work ethic. I've changed my life and have not been in any trouble for the last 7 years, yet its still hard to get a second chance and its deterring me from taking care of myself, my family and perusing my future goals. I'm not a quitter but it hurts having to confront things all over again, things you already put behind you. Its very frustrating, just to get a easy job that I already know how to do. Now I see why so many young men go back to prison. If you want to change you got to have faith, keep praying and keep pushing forward. You got to keep forcing yourself to be happy and smile even when you heart is torn, even when you got to accept a $8/hr job and you got a whole family to support, even when you applied at 100 different jobs and you get all the way through the process just to get told no because of the background check, not to mention you over qualify for the position, or you start your own business and have a great vision and great ideas, but no start up money, no budget not even a shoe string and you cant get it off the ground. I was doing so good and just like that I'm back to square one. Please pray with me, pray for me because it's hard and I'm really trying. I really need some advice with this matter, there have to be something that can be done. Please help!

Rolley Haggard


Someone recently prayed this for you – thought I’d pass it along…

Dear heavenly Father, I know that because You see and know all things You are intimately acquainted with Everette’s situation. I also know what You are like and what level of interest You have in Everett’s life because I know (from reading the Bible) what Jesus is like and what level of interest He would have in Everette’s life. He never turned anyone away who was seeking for mercy and grace to help in time of need. And He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”. So I conclude with peace and assurance that You are responding to this plea for help in a manner entirely in keeping with the way Jesus responded to those who sought His help when He walked the earth. Thank You for that.

May the first step for Everette be this assurance, this peace that passes understanding, that when we commit our ways to You, when we tell You what our troubles are, when we acknowledge You in all our ways, when we seek Your face, when we call upon You, You are faithful for Your name’s sake -- and Your name is Mercy, Your name is Love, so You are merciful for Mercy’s sake and Loving for Love’s sake, and not for the sake of any great things we have done. Strengthen Everette’s faith, that whatever hardship he is facing, he may know and be assured that You are with him. Remind him that faith in You does not mean all problems will go away, but it does mean that You will be with him in those problems and will be pleased with him that he is looking to You and placing all his hopes and expectations on the reward You will give him on the Day that he stands before You.

On that Day it will be worth it all: “for momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18. And, “I am persuaded that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory.” Romans 8:18. Grant him, therefore, the faith to cling to You and to strive to be pleasing to You in all things, that he may have all the blessings that come from a clear conscience and the assurance that You and he are walking together, and that You will one day compensate him for all that he suffered as one who put his hopes in You.

May You and he become the closest of friends. May he be reminded that in this fallen world there is “futility” (Romans 8:20), and may he be reminded that all the past “heroes of the faith” had to endure seemingly senseless hardship often for no apparent reason, and that they chose to endure that hardship rather than alleviate themselves of it by doing things that displease You (Hebrews 11, the whole chapter). Help Everette to follow in their footsteps; help him to be fully persuaded, as they were, that in the final analysis, what really matters in life is whether we are walking with You, whether we are calling out to You, whether we are trying each day to know You and Your word better, whether we are trying to learn and do the things that please You.

Thank You that the promises You made are for Everette, and that You want him to know that You would not lie or mislead him; and one of those promises is this, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper; I will not fear what man can do to me.” Hebrews 13:5-6.

Help him to think about the cross and what it means. Remind him that there on the cross You “demonstrated Your love for us” by dying for us “while we were still sinners”, while we were still people who not only didn’t care about You, but who positively hated You. (Romans 5:8) Imprint it indelibly upon his heart that on the cross You showed us all what lengths You are willing to go for our well-being. And if You were willing to do that for us “while we were yet sinners”, then how can we reasonably doubt that if we call upon You, You will be with us in whatever other hardships and perils we may have to face and endure? For “He who did not spare His only Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us ALL things?” (Romans 8:32).

Still, when everything seems to be going wrong, as it is in Everette’s life, it is hard to believe that You love us and that You care and that You will meet all our needs. I confess that every day it is hard for me to believe Your love and care for me, even though I am not going through what Everette is going through. It is easy to trust You when pretty much everything is going okay. But when you’ve tried so hard to improve your situation and things just don’t seem to come together, you can either “curse God” (like Job’s wife suggested – Job 2:9), or cry out, as Everette has done. Lord, have mercy on Everette, for he is humbling himself before you and others in hopes that mercy might be extended to him.

Thank You for Your words of encouragement for us to “pray at all times and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1) You would not have said “don’t lose heart” if You didn’t already know that we were likely to lose heart; and the reason we are likely to lose heart is because we pray and pray and try and try, and nothing seems to change. But You are there the whole time, watching us and suffering with us (“in all their affliction He was afflicted (Isaiah 63:9).

One reason things don’t change right away is because there is a great cosmic war going on between You and the Devil. Daniel prayed, and his prayer was heard by You, and immediately You sent an angel to help him. But that help did not arrive for 3 full weeks. Why? Not because You did not hear. Not because You didn’t want to help. But because an enemy opposed the angel who was sent to answer his prayer! (Daniel 10:12-13) May Everette be reminded of this when, even after he has called out to You, little or nothing has changed. The truth is, everything has changed; You have heard and will continue to hear his prayers; but there are enemies who don’t want Everette to be helped, and they will oppose those who are trying to convey Your help to him. Remind him of this, that he might continue to “pray at all times and not lose heart.”

Lord, I know You have heard Everette’s cries for help. And now You have also heard my cries for help on his behalf. And doubtless there are many others who have similarly prayed and will continue to pray for Everette, for we have learned that You are as good as Your word, and that our continued prayers will pay off in real and satisfying ways. When You said “call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15), You meant it. The cross proves how You feel about us, about Everette. There is nothing that You will not do for him if he will just cling to You and understand that what You do for him, though it may not result in him having a life of ease here in this world, will nonetheless be full of the assurance of Your presence and Your favor, of Your love and Your involvement in his life, and of the sure promise that in just a few short years – i.e. the span of a brief lifetime – he will enjoy with You and with all the others who have chosen to follow You and endure hardship with a good conscience – in a few short years, when he steps into the unimaginably wonderful new heaven and new earth where he will live forever, he will declare with unrestrained joy and exuberance, “man, that was worth it!”

Nevertheless, in the meantime, I and many others, pray that You will help Everette to get a good job that he can work hard at and do well at, so that he can provide for his family and know that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman accomplishes MUCH.” (James 5:16)

Thanks for hearing my prayer for Everette. And thanks for hearing his cry for help. And huge thanks that, even though none of us is worthy for You to care for us, You do care, because that’s the kind of Person You are.

In Jesus’ name,

One of Everette’s friends

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