Understanding resources for ex-convicts in Texas

It’s tough being an ex-convict in America.

The U.S. Department of Justice reported that, of prisoners released in 2005, 86% went on to get rearrested at least once within the next nine years. Most of those arrests occurred within the first year of release. What that roughly means is that most of the prisoners released went back into the system.

Additionally, about one out of four ex-offenders is unemployed (and the numbers are much higher for African-American ex-convicts). So, there are about 10,000 ex-prisoners released into American communities every week. According to the numbers, most of them are unemployed and are finding it difficult to find work. They are trying to navigate a system stacked against them.

While difficult, however, it’s possible. Ex-convicts don’t have to face a future alone.

Texas, by the numbers

In the state of Texas, there are a lot of prisoners. About 8,000 ex-prisoners enter the streets of San Antonio every year. One possible reason for this high re-incarceration rate is the difficulty ex-convicts have in landing a job. Many employers don’t want to hire somebody with a criminal record.

Unable to make ends meet, a lot of those ex-prisoners turn to theft or drug dealing.

In nearby Dallas, about 700 ex-cons are bused into the city every month. They are expected to seamlessly integrate back into society as if incarceration had never happened. Similarly, many are unprepared to navigate the job-search problems ex-offenders will face, and they end up back behind bars.

Then there’s the problem with housing. Many landlords or apartment companies don’t want to rent to a person with a criminal past. A lot end up sleeping in the streets, sometimes for years at a time.

There’s help for ex-convicts in Texas

Mission-based organizations like Crosspoint Inc. in San Antonio and Unlocking Doors in Dallas offer resources like transitional housing, employment training and certification, psychological counseling and medical treatment. The general goals of these organizations is to keep communities safe and reduce ex-convict recidivism.

Other resources available to ex-offenders in Texas include Jobs For Felons, an employment hub changing the way ex-convicts gain employment, and B23 Goes 2 Work, a community resource offering job training and employment boards.

The past is behind you. That’s where it belongs.

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