Of all the crimes, the ones of a sexual nature tend to elicit the most visceral response from people. Employers are more likely to not want to hire and even landlords are reluctant to rent. This does not mean you should lose all hope when looking to rejoin society.
It is possible to find good jobs for sex offenders and start to make a good living. It is however made harder when many employers carry out background checks. You will likely have to register on the Sex Offenders Register which will expose your past.
Depending on which state you live and the type of offense, you may be facing additional restrictions. Many sex offenders cannot work where children are or access the internet. These kinds of limits can further cut the range of jobs sex offenders can have.
With all these snags you might be wondering how anyone can expect you to become a useful member of society again. Keep reading to find an answer to this and more.
The definition of a sex offense can greatly vary from place to place. There are however some key offenses that are the norm across the board. This includes crimes like rape, incest, sexual assault, child molestation, and child pornography.
These are the more severe cases that tend to attract the worst sentences and harshest restrictions on release. Other offenses like urinating in public may seem less serious. They can still however attract a prison sentence and registering on the Sex Offenders Registry.
Here’s what you need to know about the range of penalties meted out to sex offenders by some states:
This is one of just 10 states that have passed laws requiring some sex offenders be chemically castrated. Sex offenses can include rape, sodomy, sexual misconduct, child abuse, and indecent exposure.
These offenses can attract penalties including prison terms, fines, probation, sex offender registration, and now chemical castration. The penalties can vary greatly according to the particular offense.
Child molestation can result in prison terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to $60,000. Indecent exposure can attract up to 1-year sentence in jail and fines of up to $6,000.
Sodomy convictions can result in life terms and fines of up to $60,000. A conviction for date rape can also result in a life term and fines of up to $60,000.
Sexual assault is a broad category that covers offenses such as rape, groping, and unwanted sexual contact. Conditions that can qualify a crime as rape include:
- A victim’s fear of suffering bodily injury
- A victim’s fear of another person suffering injury
- The accused’s use of physical force, threats or duress
- The accused making fraudulent presentations to coerce sex
- A victim’s lack of capacity to give consent
For rape cases involving minors, the severity of penalties depends on the age of the victim. The age difference between victim and offender is also considered.
Sentences can typically vary anywhere between 3-13 years. Fines of between $2,000-$25,000 are also possible in cases involving minors.
Rape and sexual assault crimes are dependent on whether penetration took place and touching of genitals. The level of penalties also varies based on how aggravated the crime was. For instance, if there was force or the victim was unconscious due to drugging.
Penalties for sexual abuse can include prison terms of between 4-48 years for felony cases. One can also suffer fines of anywhere between $2,000-$1,000,000, depending on felony class. There are also mandatory parole periods that can range between 3-5 years.
Unlawful sexual contact offenses can attract felony or lesser charges. Felony cases can end with a prison sentence of between 4-12 years. Fines can be up to $500,000 and 3 years’ mandatory parole.
Under Michigan law, sexual assault has occurred when unwanted sexual contact without consent takes place. It can also involve the use of threats or coercion.
1st degree felonies include:
- Cases of child sexual abuse with victims under the age of 13 years
- Incest with minors between ages of 13-15 years
- Sexual penetration of the mentally disabled
- Sexual assault committed in the course of another felony
Less severe offenses include sexual contact with no penetration and sexual contact under the guise of authority. The later could be in cases such as prison guards with victims being inmates.
Penalties can vary with 1st degree felony convictions resulting in life imprisonment. 4th-degree misdemeanor offenses attracting fines of up to $500 and two years’ imprisonment. All felony convictions require sex offender registration.
Here sexual assault is either rape or sexual battery. Rape cases involve the use of force or threats. Sexual battery cases involve coercion by authority figures and victims unable to resist.
Both offenses have varied levels of penalties. The penalties depend on the level of sexual contact and the amount of force used.
Rape offenses are 1st degree felonies. In cases where force has been used, prison terms can be up to life. Sexual battery cases can attract fines of up to $10,000 and prison sentences of up to 5 years.
Cases involving minors under 13 years may result in terms of up to 5 years and fines of up to $15,000. Both rape and sexual battery offenders require sex offender registration.
Here rape occurs when force has been in a sexual act. It also allows for when the victim was unconscious or in some way impaired or unable to give consent.
Cases of victims that are minors below the age of 12 attract the charge of ‘rape of a child’. This differs from rape. This offense can result in a term of up to 40 years for cases where the child suffered serious body injuries.
The penalties can also include prison terms of up to 20 years. This sentence can have as much as 10 years added on if drugs were used on the victim. Fines of up to $100,000 and mandatory sex offender registration can also apply.
While most sex offenses are prosecuted under state law, there are also federal level offenses. Here are a few facts on how sex offenses are handled at this level:
Federal Sex Offenses
Some offenses that the federal courts prosecute include:
- Traveling across state lines to have sex with a minor
- Activities related to the sharing of child pornography
- Buying and selling of children for sexual purposes
- Sexual abuse that results in death
- Aggravated sexual abuse
Sexual assault cases that the federal authorities pursue tend to be repeat offenses and more severe in nature. Crimes against children are also often handled at this level.
The penalties for federal cases can include imprisonment, probation, fines, and mandatory sex offender registration. With this, offenders will find themselves challenged when it comes to employment, housing, and education.
It is worth noting that sex offenders have the second-lowest level of recidivism after murderers. This means they have low chances of re-offending upon release. This speaks to the desire of many offenders to want to get back to a normal law-abiding life.
Now we have seen some sex offenses on the books and their penalties. If you are on a job search, you might be wondering why this matters. Here’s why:
Effects of a Sex Conviction on a Career
Being on a state and the National Sex Offender Registry can be stressful. The period you are on the list can vary from between 10 years to life. The details include your name, address, a head-shot, and a report of the offense.
Because the registries are open to the public, even a simple search of your name can bring up data. This means that even years later people will still be able to find out this private info.
If you own a business, restrictions like no internet access can greatly affect how you run. Many businesses have been ruined by an inability to adapt to such modern conveniences as email.
Also, for those whose limitations do not include restricted internet access, things may not be so rosy. There is the risk of your image suffering more if online trolls find out about your past.
If renting a business premises, the owner may likely refuse you a lease. The same will also apply when trying to find decent housing near your place of work or business.
Having to adhere to restrictions on proximity to places like schools makes for limited housing options. You will probably have to pay more or maybe make do with poor lodgings. Besides the likely challenging commute, you may also suffer further harassment from neighbors.
Some states, like California, do have laws against such discrimination. But it has not really stopped employers and landlords. They can still freely access much of your private data and use it against you.
The best way to overcome the odds is to focus on certain jobs and companies that hire sex offenders. Here are some options you should give more thought to:
Jobs That Hire Sex Offenders
Many jobs that do not involve children are a viable option for sex offenders. Here are some top picks for sex offender jobs:
Once you earn a commercial driving license, you can easily get work in this field. Many companies can help get you qualified.
2. Janitorial Services
This work is also often open to felons in commercial or office environments.
3. Construction and Building Trades
Skilled jobs like welding and plumbing tend to offer good pay and opportunity to stay clear of minors.
With no minors in this work-space you can easily focus on the job. Though there is not much space for promotions, work can often be steady.
5. Automotive Services
Mainly deals with adult clients, so another good option.
6. Temp Agencies
Many smaller agencies are accepting of felons. They often lack a sufficient number of staff and can work with you to comply with probation terms.
7. Animal Breeders and Shelters
This kind of work involves minimal interaction with the public. It can be particularly good for those that have been through prison animal programs.
8. Manufacturing and Assembly
This is another field that involves just adult interactions. If you are proficient at your work you can enjoy good benefits here.
9. Online Work
From copy writing to web design, there are many job offers. This however best works where internet access is permitted to the offender.
Some companies that offer this work may not hire felons who have been recently released. Do not however give up. Many have a high staff turnover and have lower standards to attract the help they need.
Jobs That Do Not Hire Sex Offenders
On the flip side, jobs that sex offenders can’t have include anything to do with:
- Daycare centers
- Public parks
- Sports facilities where children attend
Now that you know what to go in for and what to avoid, here are a few ways you can boost your chances of gainful employment.
Tips and Tricks
Target The Right Employers
Focus on job adverts from smaller businesses. You have a better chance of getting a face-to-face meeting with the employer.
If you leave questions on criminal convictions blank, prepare to answer honestly when questioned. There is still a chance a check will be done so think about how to state your case.
If you want to try bigger companies, certainly consider those that have good reputations for hiring those with criminal records. Examples are Home Depot, Best Western, and Ace Hardware
Get Help from Your Parole Officer
As mentioned, your parole officer and therapist can be a really useful resource. Many sex offenders view this relationship negatively. Often because it is made mandatory to see these officials for the duration of their probation.
Parole officers are most concerned that you may re-offend. To help persuade them that you will not, talk to your therapist. Together you can work on a detailed plan on how you will handle trigger situations whenever you go out in public.
If your parole officer believes in your commitment to staying on the straight and narrow, he/she may loosen the reins a little.
Apply for Deregistration
Also, check to see if it is possible to have your name removed from the Sex Offender Registry. Many states provide a legal means of achieving this. In states like Texas, deregistration is an option for those that meet certain criteria.
This can include such measures as completing mandated Sex Offender Treatment Programs. A recommendation from your therapist that you are no longer a danger to others can also help. This deregistration can allow you to rebuild your career by removing your criminal record from the public domain.
Furthermore, Certificates of Rehabilitation can also be helpful. They attest to the fact that you have reformed since your conviction.
Seek out nonprofit organizations that assist felons. Choices such as the National H.I.R.E. network can be a big help.
Volunteering at nonprofits can also help boost your CV while keeping you busy. They offer a chance to get back to work and network to a potential job opportunity.
If you prefer to work for yourself and have the resources, consider starting your own business. Be sure to however check on what restrictions you face that may make this more challenging. Restrictions on internet use may mean you having to hire someone else to help or consulting your parole officer.
There is no doubt that being a sex offender will affect your life in drastic ways upon conviction and release. However, even if you do not end up being removed from the sex offender registry, there is still hope. You can still make a good living with the opportunities out there.
The key to success here is persistence. You need to keep exploring different options and consult with those in the know.
If you are recently released, also look for avenues of growth that can lead to a meaningful career in the fields mentioned above. This will keep you away from risky situations, and allow you to put some good distance between yourself and your past.