Through The Eyes of The Convicted—An Interview With A 'Criminal'
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Politics and Activism

Through The Eyes of The Convicted—An Interview With A 'Criminal'

You cannot simply know a person by the title society provides them.

Through The Eyes of The Convicted—An Interview With A 'Criminal'
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I believe that it would be beneficial for you, the reader, to know exactly what was entailed in the process of creating this article. It all began one day at church. I was sitting in my pew thinking about a message my pastor was presenting. He discussed with the congregation the importance of seeing that everyone around us has been persecuted of something. Whether as a soldier, a missionary, or even as a criminal, everyone around us has felt a form of persecution. I began to think of forms of minorities in society that do not have a voice that can be heard. I took the route less sought out. It is not often that I or even you, gives someone of a criminal record the light of day. But they have a voice too, don't they? This article is based off an interview I had with a man who has been convicted of a financial felony. Here, is his story.

As a middle class, Caucasian male, how could I be seen as a minority?

My entire life I had a craving for acceptance, I needed to prove myself to others. One night I was doing paperwork for a client’s loan. All I wanted to do was climb the ladder of success. I was looking in places where I could not find happiness, and I was seeking relationships that were fleeting. I filed the client's forms improperly, thus committing financial/mortgage fraud. I pleaded to a misdemeanor attempt charge. I was able to learn in my three months spent in prison what it was like to be consider a social minority. The repercussions of one mistake can completely alter everything that follows in your life. I would not ever wish to have my time spent in prison taken away. God brought me back to the people I love most in life, and He saved me from being a part of a very cunning financial system.

Although my time in prison is done, the fact is, most employers today do a background check. A financial crime is significantly defeating. Any potential employer will instantly see you as being a dishonest crook before you even walk through the door. Even if I had the file of my wrong doing sealed by court order, so that it would not come up on a background check, the crime is still able to be seen by anyone on the internet. Simply search my name and town, and you will see a “booking” picture of me.

Unfortunately, others are not able to see who I am because they will not give me the light of day in a workplace. They are unable to see that I have a tremendous skill set. They do not see that I have personal traits that are vital in a work environment. But I see that I have a forgiving God who has provided me with a loving family. I have seen that although I am limited, I have also been set free.

Although it is in my past, it is impossible for me to say that it did not play a role in shaping who I am today. It has been seven years since I have set foot in jail. I am moving forward, I cannot let the past have an effect on what God has prepared for me in my future. I am so willing to see all that He has to offer me. I would not have been able to see such beauty while my eyes were jaded by my infamous financial pursuits. I must acknowledge that. I accept that penalty. I continue to pay for that penalty every day due to my inability to hold a job of high caliber. I am in no way, perfect. I want people to know that I am grateful for what happened. I was a workaholic, an alcoholic, and I was arrogant. I have learned humility. Scratch that, I am still learning humility. I am human and have made mistakes, and I am only going to continue to do so. However, as a Christian, I know that I am forgiven.

In my opinion, the judicial system is skewed and incredibly broken. Poor or less fortunate people are often severely punished by the system. Rich or famous people are often able to manipulate the system and bypass most penalties for wrong doings. For example, the top people in the mortgage meltdown in 2008 did not get charged with crimes. They paid no penalties. The small person was railroaded by overzealous prosecutors. They ended up overcharging those who took a plea bargain to avoid more severe potential penalties.

Crimes of less than a felony should not be made public. Contrary to what most people think, the “public good” should not be on a need to know basis. Nobody ever has the chance to bounce back if everyone knows all that they have done wrong. I believe that crimes of a misdemeanor or less should be expunged five years if there has been no recurrence of crime by the accused. I believe that first time offenders should have their records sealed so they are not thrown out to the ravenous nature of society.

That one night.

That mere night that I misfiled my client’s paperwork completely altered the rest of my time on this earth. All the power I had obtained from years of work was gone almost instantaneously. I learned what it was like to go from an alpha of the wolf pack of finance, to a social minority. God firmly grabbed me by both hands and pulled me out of the door I was trying to pry open for myself. He told me that I can follow Him, and no other was ever going to be sufficient enough to fill that void in my heart. I would not take back a second of that adversity.

God saved me from drowning in a pool of financial sharks. He brought me ashore and He washed my feet, making them clean.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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