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Jobs for Parolees

January 11, 1994

* I have a friend, who as a young adult, made some mistakes. This translated into 6 1/2 years in prison on drug charges.

While in there, he started reflecting on the way his life was going. So he started to make changes. First, he became more spiritual. He decided to enroll in as many courses as he could, i.e., sewing machine operator, plumber, computer programmer, and on the side he took correspondence courses. He made straight A's and received a certificate as an advanced paralegal.

He was released last November. He lives with his disabled girlfriend, who has no money coming in. He walks all over Los Angeles to apply for jobs. It is nothing for him to walk 20-30 miles to put in job applications every single day. He has been to all the area fast-food places that have "help wanted" signs out, yet of the 63 applications he has filled out, not one person has called. He also has skills in construction, maintenance, heavy equipment operator, machine operator, etc.

Why doesn't anybody want to give this 37-year-old bondable man a job?

As I look at him, fixing his tennis shoes that have holes in them so he can start walking and looking tomorrow, I can't help but wonder how much longer he is going to be able to hold on, before he is forced to turn to a life of crime to pay his rent and have something to eat.

The sad fact is, there are thousands of young men in his same predicament. Won't someone just open a door to him?

SUSAN ROGERS

Los Angeles

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