I’ve been perusing some Facebook groups that are directed toward felons and how to move forward after a conviction. And while I love that, I also notice the amount of misinformation or lack of information. People are discussing creating petitions to their state when it is very possible that the state already has something in place. These programs are not easy to find, but they are one of the least utilized tools that are already there.
People also often seem to think that felons are not supposed to be friends with each other, or that felons can’t vote for the rest of their lives. This simply is not the case in many states. Once you are finished serving your supervisory sentence (probation or parole), you actually get many rights back automatically. I know for a fact that in Illinois, I was able to vote the same year I finished my ‘supervised’ term. I didn’t care to vote until recently, but I was allowed to do so if I wished that same year.
And as for being buddies with other felons, it IS legal for you to do so. It might not be the best of ideas, especially if the felons you’re friends with are still behaving badly as you really don’t need the inspiration to join in again, but it’s not against the law to be friends. Honestly, it might only apply to people that have specific bars against contact with certain individuals in their probation/parole while they are on it. I know on my case, there was an additional condition of avoiding the individual who had been my companion in my criminal conviction, and I found later that they had a similar condition on their paperwork against me. But it only lasted until our respective sentences were finished. Well, the legal part did, I’ve avoided that particular individual like the Prince from Edgar Allan Poes “The Masque of the Red Death” simply because I don’t need the temptation to fall back in with people I KNOW don’t have the ‘let’s move on mentality’. The mindset of who you around GREATLY influence you and your motivation. Don’t trap yourself, and be realistic about who you’re around if you really want to make a shift to a better place.
Gun rights are another big unknown for many felons, but there are many states that will allow you to gain back your right to a firearm as well. In Illinois, once you’re done with your sentence, you can apply for your FOID again, and if you are denied, you can take it to the local court to discuss with a judge why you earned/ deserve the right back. Of course, violent offenders probably won’t get this back, and until rehabilitation efforts are created and fully functional in this direction, that probably won’t change. But for the majority of other convictions, you are likely fully eligible to make the attempt to show you’ve earned this right again. Some states are a little more hardball, and others play it more loosely. You have to learn to research these things, and have the patience to read through the “legal speak”. It isn’t easy, but IT CAN lead you to what you NEED to climb that ladder!
I think that pretty much covers the biggest things that I’ve noticed with misinformation about having a felony and how it influences us. The biggest thing to remember here is to DO THE DAMN RESEARCH. Or (shameless self-advertising) you can pay me to do it for you at my Fiverr Gig here – https://www.fiverr.com/azarathia/provide-felony-rehabilitation-support.
Point is, you HAVE to be armed with KNOWLEDGE about your state and your conviction. Without this sort of arsenal, you’ll keep feeling like the dog society tends to think we are.