Justice Involved And Ex-Offender Resources
This page provides helpful resources to assist job seekers who have previously been convicted of a crime. For many recently released individuals, transitioning back to everyday life can be a challenge - many people don't know where to start.
The first step is take care of basic issues such as Housing. In NY State, you can log onto MyBenefits for information on programs you may qualify for such as food stamps, healthcare, and housing assistance.
Licensing and Convictions
Read the latest Licensing Guide to see how convictions may impact obtaining and maintaining NYS Licenses and Certifications in various professions. (ex. Barber, School bus driver, Lawyer)
Do you have a criminal conviction and have you remained crime-free for 10 years?
You may be able to have up to two criminal convictions and related charges sealed under new Criminal Procedure Law §160.59
Certificates of Rehabilitation
If you have a conviction for a felony or misdemeanor, or if you have a JO (Juvenile Offender) adjudication, you can apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. These certificates may help when you are looking for a job or applying for an occupational license. (You do NOT need a certificate if you have a JD (Juvenile Delinquent) or YO (Youthful Offender) adjudication because they are NOT convictions.
It's a good idea to see a copy of your rap (Record of Arrest and Prosecution) sheet prior to looking for work, so you can correct any errors on it.
A good resource to get you started is this booklet about rap sheets
Other legal issues
Hiring Incentives for Employers
There are several hiring incentives available in NYS to help eliminate barriers and encourage companies to hire you.
- Federal Bonding Program: This is an insurance policy for businesses that protects against any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty. You can only apply for the program once you have a job offer with a start date. Once you have a start date, either you or your new employer can contact the local bonding coordinator to get the bonding process started.
- Fact Sheet.
- In Niagara County, the contact is Vicki Allen or (716) 433-6766
- For more information, go to http://www.labor.ny.gov/businessservices/services/fbp.s
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit: The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a tax credit for companies who hire individuals from one of several target groups, which includes ex-offenders. Businesses can receive a tax credit up to $2,400 if they hire an ex-felon within 1 year of either that individual's conviction or release from prison, whichever is later.
- Fact Sheet
- More information and the steps to apply for this Tax Credit can be found at http://www.labor.ny.gov/businessservices/edsu/edsu%20wotc.shtm
- Flyer with information on our Resume Service
- Call 278-8246 to set up an appointment or drop in on Fridays from 9am - 11:00am (arrive early to assure your spot)
- Complete this Resume Worksheet and bring it with you to your appointment
A Job Application is a legal document so NEVER falsify the information you give on an application. A business has the right to ask if you were ever CONVICTED of a felony or misdemeanor, they cannot ask if you have ever been ARRESTED. Many employment experts suggest when an application asks about a conviction, answer "Yes" and then add "Willing to discuss in more detail at the interview".
A helpful Guide for "How to answer Application and Interview questions regarding your conviction" can be found on the Legal Action Center's website.
Job Search sites specifically targeted to ex-offenders
- H.I.R.E. - Established by the Legal Action Center in 2001, the National Helping Individuals with criminal records Re-enter through Employment (H.I.R.E.) Network is both a national clearinghouse for information and an advocate for policy change. It is one of several special projects at the Legal Action Center. The goal of the National H.I.R.E. Network is to increase the number and quality of job opportunities available to people with criminal records.
- Jobs For Felons Hub.com
Your Winning Edge
The state Department of Labor’s website contains a wealth of information about employment opportunities for individuals with a criminal record. "Your Winning Edge" – is a comprehensive series of publications, each of which focuses on key aspects of finding and preparing for a job:
- Resumes, Cover Letters, Job Applications
- Sample Resumes and Cover Letters
- Job Search and Networking
- The Prime Objective, a Job Seeking Guide for Ex-Offenders
- NYS Department of Labor - Pathways to Employment
- Community Missions - Niagara County Re-Entry Program - Click HERE for flyer
- "Going to Work with a Criminal Record: Lessons from the Fathers at Work Initiative"
- Center for Community Alternatives - Innovative Solutions for Justice
- Volunteers Lawyers Project