Legislation aimed to help convicted felons find jobs moves forward

Published: Apr. 9, 2016 at 1:38 AM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2016 at 1:52 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Proposed legislation aimed at helping convicted felons find jobs after prison is moving forward in the Alabama Legislature.

The Ban the Box proposal was approved by an Alabama Senate Committee would prevent certain employers from knowing someone's criminal history out the gate.

Gregory Kirkman, a former inmate, knows firsthand the difficulties of finding a job and shaking your criminal past.

"Once they see felon on that piece of paper that's it," said Kirkman.

Kirkman spent two years in prison and says the hard part is knowing your worth but getting employers to know it as well.

"They don't give you the opportunity to tell them what kind of skill you have or what you can do for them," said Kirkman.

Although Kirkman has found a job, for others, change could be around the corner.

"It gives you the opportunity to show the people that you can do the job and that they can trust you," explains Kirkman.

Eric Richards, Director of Stepping of Stones, helps former inmates transition back into society says if this law passes it gives them a better chance of succeeding. 

"Of those that get a job their likelihood of going back to prison diminishes which is going to cost the state less money," said Richards.

And though things have been rough, Kirkman has now found his purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.

"To know that tomorrow I'm going to get up and go to work and at the end of the week, I'm going to get a pay check," said Kirkman.

The next step is getting this bill on the Senate Calendar for debate.

So far, 21 other states have approved this bill.

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