In last week’s article, “The Lessons Our Fathers Teach Us”, I mentioned second chances. I think we would all agree, everyone has had a lapse in judgement at one point or another, usually in our younger years before we realized the negative consequences our actions can have. Imagine, just for a second, how would your life be today if you were caught and charged for stealing that stop sign at the corner of 5th of Main? Your friends thought it would be a cool idea, and it would look amazing hanging on your bedroom wall—but what if that missing sign caused a horrible traffic accident? Not such a cool souvenir now. Remember that graduation party? You know the one, where you had a few too many beers but decided you could still drive, and somehow made it home, but for the life of you, there is no recollection of actually being in the car. What could have happened? Pretty scary…
Yes, there is no doubt, we’re all guilty of doing some really, really foolish stuff. I think Frank Sinatra said it best in his timeless classic “My Way”: Regrets? I’ve had a few… Fortunately, for most of us, we learn from our mistakes and realize not to repeat them. For some of us, however, we are forced to live with the repercussions of our bad decisions for the rest of our lives. If you’ve ever had a run in with the law, you know how difficult it can be to get your life back on track, especially when it comes to finding gainful employment. After all, if you owned a business, would you want to hire someone with a criminal record, even if it was for a non-violent crime from over a decade ago? This very real problem is quickly becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the hard work and efforts provided by Horizon Goodwill and some very influential friends in Annapolis.
Horizon Goodwill & The Second Chance Act
If you’ve made a mistake and find yourself having a difficult time finding gainful employment, help is available. Legislation has been in place to help those with a non-violent criminal record get a fresh start, helping them to more easily gain employment. Horizon Goodwill, along with then Senator Christopher Shank and Governor Larry Hogan worked together to improve The Second Chance Act. The language for this ground-breaking bill incorporated revisions from Director of Regulatory Compliance and In-House Council Attorney Rodney Rose as well as Craig Houpt from Horizon Goodwill’s Legal Services Department. This powerful bill is able to help residents expunge non-violent crimes from their record, providing a very real opportunity to improve their quality of life. This truly life-changing piece of legislation has already helped over 100 members of our local communities clear their record, giving a true second chance to forge ahead with their careers.
Who Is Eligible For A Second Chance?
When you break the law, there is a penalty for your actions. Ideally, you serve your sentence or pay the fine imposed for your actions, then proceed to live your life in the manner that you know is right. Usually this involves working in a rewarding career, but, unfortunately, that criminal record can follow you around for years, even decades, making earning a living nearly impossible. Horizon Goodwill believes that you’ve already paid for your mistake—but society too often feels otherwise. There is a stigma involved in having committed a crime, even though it’s not representative of who you currently are.
Just some examples of non-violent crimes that can be expunged through the Second Chance Act include:
- Drug Use/Possession
- Driving Under The Influence
- Writing Bad Checks
All of the above are instances of actions that don’t define who you are as a person, yet, left on your record, can greatly diminish your chances of moving forward, leaving your mistakes behind.
How Can Horizon Goodwill Help?
The entire mission of Horizon Goodwill is to help those with barriers to employment find meaningful, productive work. If you are currently experiencing difficulty finding a job based on your past criminal record, please, let them help! They provide open enrollment at the Hagerstown Prospect Street Service Center every Tuesday from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm. The Horizon Goodwill team will work with you through the entire process, including filling out all paperwork and petitions to help you clear your past record.
You owe it to yourself to take control of your career. No longer do you need to feel your efforts to find gainful employment are futile based solely on past indiscretions. You’re worth the effort! Horizon Goodwill has faith in who you are and where you’re going! Contact the Prospect Street Service Center by calling 301.733.7330 and get your career back on the right path!