Can a Felon Work for the City?

If you committed a crime and went to prison, you may have to rebuild your life. You will have to find a place to live and get transportation.

Hiring managers are becoming more open to hiring people with felonies. You’ve done your time, and now you deserve to move past your mistakes.

Without a good job that has benefits, you may go back to prison. If you feel that you don’t have options, there are. You can still get a good job.

Benefits of Working for the City

City jobs offer stable income. They come with benefits and forty-hour work weeks.

There are many different jobs with the city. If you like working outside you can be a landscaper or work on the roads.

If you want office work, you can become a city clerk. The options are endless.

Most city jobs will offer you retirement plans and education benefits like college. You will also get vacation pay and holidays with your family.

Although you have a felony on your record, not all city jobs are out of your reach. Times are changing and many areas are encouraging the hiring of felons. This includes city governments.

Going Forward with Movements

Social movements are storming governments to get you your rights back. Ban the Box and the Impact Fund are pushing for fair hiring of people.

These organizations are urging employers to hire people based on their skills. This means that you will have the same rights as other applicants for getting the job.

The Ban the Box movement is a way of getting an interview before your employer knows about your crimes. This helps you introduce yourself without the judgment of a marked conviction box.

As of July 2019, 35 States have adopted this hiring practice. As far as city jobs; 150 cities are now hiring based on skills and not criminal past.

A “fair Chance” city gives you many of the same job opportunities as non-felons. You may need to look into the city you live in for specific details.

Cleveland Ohio is a city that offers jobs to felons. Spokane, Washington will not ask about your criminal history before your interview.

Second Chance ordinances are popping up all over the country. These ordinances maintain that employers should hire ex-felons.

Austin Texas and Oakland California are promoting their fair chance ordinances. This means that employers are becoming educated on the practice of hiring for talent.

Projects like the Impact Fund raise money to help you fight unfair hiring practices. It is now the burden of the employer to explain why they won’t hire a felon. If the reason is not good enough, they may face a lawsuit.

Companies and cities can earn tax credits for hiring people with previous convictions. Many employers are grateful for the talent and dedication that felons bring to the job.

Benefits for the City to Hire You

With so many felons on the streets, offering jobs means giving you a chance to put your life back together. Many places keep track of how many ex-convicts go back to jail. They then take this information to understand why so many go back to jail.

For a city, hiring a felon is beneficial to keeping these rates low. It may result in lower crime rates as well.

When Will Your Felony Stop You from Getting the Job?

Each state and city has different policies for hiring felons. Depending on the area you live in you may have a hard time getting those city benefits discussed earlier.

Most places will weigh your skills versus the risk of hiring you. This is because you may be a valuable employee, but if you pose a threat to the public you won’t get the job.

If your crime happened a long time ago it is easier to get the job. This is because you appear to no longer pose a threat.

If your crime can affect your ability to do the work you’d like to do, you won’t get the job. For example: If you embezzled money from your previous employer, you won’t get a job with the city Treasury.

Another hurdle will be any licenses you may need to do your job. Becoming an electrician for the city may not be an option if you can’t get your license.

Many felonies will prevent you from working for the police or fire departments. These jobs need people who are trustworthy and responsible. You may be now, but cities will not risk the safety of their citizens in emergencies.

What Can You Do?

Having been in prison, you may not have the skills necessary to do certain jobs. Finding entry-level city jobs will be a great start for you.

If your city is open to hiring felons, you can look into General Labor or Custodial work. Previous skills and good work history may get you a better job.

Research your local government. Living somewhere with Fair Chance ordinances will help you to get back on your feet.

As with any job search, your talent should outweigh the stigma of your prior convictions. Stay out of trouble and get an education so you can to get the best jobs possible.

Depending on your situation, you may want to look at having your conviction expunged. This means that it will no longer be on your record. Once done, you may have a chance of getting any city job you’d like.


A felony conviction does not mean that your life is over. You still have to make a living and support yourself.

You may have heard about how hard it is to get a good job with a conviction on your record. Social changes are making employers more accepting of felons.

It can be intimidating but getting the right skills can land you the job. Many organizations help felons with fair hiring practices.

Ban the Box ordinances mean you get to interview before disclosing your past crimes. Employers have an opportunity to hire someone for the job without passing over you because of a box.

Many cities are taking the lead with fair chance hiring practices. There are a lot of benefits to working with the city government.

Check your local area to find the right job. Be prepared to have some trouble getting a city job, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity.


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