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Finding a job can be tough for former inmates, few find success

bexar jail.png
bexar jail (SBG Photo)

Every month, more than 7,000 men and women who have been in jail or prison, are released back into the San Antonio community. But getting them back into the work force is not easy, especially if they have a felony record.

For Tommy Johnson, finding work was an uphill battle. He has been in and out of prison for drug-related offenses, but now works hard at making an honest living.

"You want to work, but they won't let you work," says Johnson.

The stigma of having a criminal record is real. Some employers aren't willing to take a chance on the formerly incarcerated. Others might, but they won't publicize it for fear of losing business.

Jarvis Moore is living proof that people can change. He spent 13 years in prison and hasn't looked back since his release in 2009.

He is now a business owner who regularly hires others who need a second chance.

"We don't have time for you to cry and gripe about what is not working," says Moore. "We're dealing with what is working."

"I would rather them not come back into a neighborhood where they can't get a job where they have to rob or sell drugs in order to make ends meet," says Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert.

Calvert says there are 672,000 people in Bexar County who have been through the criminal justice system. It's why he started the Second Chance Job Fair. It's now in its third year.

"They are eager to work, they know they've been given a second chance and they're grateful for it," says Calvert.

Tommy Johnson has regained his dignity and reclaimed his self-esteem now that he's been given a second chance.

"I pay my bills now. I got money put up," he says. "I can go eat me a steak. I can go to a restaurant or to a movie. I can help somebody."

The third annual Second Chance Job Fair is set for Wednesday, October 17, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Freeman Coliseum. It is hosted by Commissioner Tommy Calvert. It is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

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