Despite his conviction being almost 20 years ago, Ed explains how employers still judge him on the person he was then and not the person he is now.
In 1999 I was tried and convicted of murder. I had never been in trouble before and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I will never re-offend. A moment of complete and utter madness led me to doing something that I never thought possible.
In prison I put my time to good use and completed many offending behaviour and vocational training courses which I thought would help me to gain employment on my release from prison. How wrong was I?
It’s been 3 years now since I was released and apart from some badly paid agency work, I’ve still not been able to secure full time employment. Yet all I heard in prison was how I’d done my time, gained new skills and knowledge and how prisoners were given second chances – well I’m still waiting for mine.
I know that many people will struggle to understand why I did what I did. At the end of the day there is no worse offence than taking a person’s life even if you did it to protect your family. But I’ve served a considerable prison sentence and all I want now is to move on.
I don’t want to be a burden on the state. I want to work and pay my bills just like everybody else. But I can’t because people still judge me on the person that I was almost 20 years ago – is that right? I may be on a life licence but there are no restrictions on what job I can do or where I can work, so I’m pretty flexible. I’m fit and active and prepared to work hard, i just need that one person to give me a break.
I’ve got a great fiancee who’s fully supported me since we’ve been together and I’m incredibly lucky to have her in my life. She encourages and motivates me and we’d love to get married but because of the work situation it’s impossible right now.
I’m a strong person and try to keep positive but some days are harder than others. Although I have no intention of re-offending (I’ve spent too long in prison), I can understand why people do. If you’re not allowed to fully engage in society, then for many the only option is to rebel against it.
The courses I did in prison certainly helped me get my head in the right place and prepare me for release but what do they matter if you can’t get a job at the end of it? I heard somebody say that this was the equivalent of training a football team for the World Cup and then turning up to find there’s no football.
Well I’ve no intention of retiring from the game yet, I’m just looking for a great manager to give me a trial.
By Ed (name changed to protect identity)
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