Criminal record makes life difficult

December 27, 2013 

I recently received a felony conviction for possessing a needle and spoon. I have swamped all businesses with job applications and have had zero callbacks. I have an associate degree in science along with a certification to be a medical assistant. I have worked as a medical tecords director and have completed an externship at the Urban League in Madison.

I was very sick as an addict and I have completed a rehab program and have been participating in the AA program in my area. I realize I am an addict, but I will be punished every day for the rest of my life as a felon now.

I want to follow the rules of society and be a productive member of this society, but the system (I believe) would rather have me remain a disenfranchised addict. I would never ask for help if I could work to make things right for me and my family. I feel that I cannot work out of this situation.

I would appreciate any suggestions on getting a job anywhere. I was charged with possession of up to half an ounce of raw heroin and I was never caught with any heroin. I had paraphernalia and my public defender said the pressure from the public on heroin has caused the state's attorney to charge all sick addicts with felonies regardless of their actual need for imprisonment. Their only move is to lock up addicts.

I do not want to go back to that lifestyle, but it is a way to keep eating instead of going hungry. I do not want to put others in harm's way for my benefit. I want to be successful as a clean, friendly and law-abiding citizen. I find it harder each day to accomplish this.

James Rice


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