Businesses give ex-offenders a second chance

- A second chance is what so many people need after landing in jail. After getting out, some just want to work and earn a living. 

FOX 29's Bill Anderson reports some businesses are hiring ex-offenders.

To see 61-year-old John Barr happy outside on a cold day while he does his new job cleaning up around city hall, he told us that his past would likely never occur to you.

“My attitude wasn’t correct, I couldn’t deal with people. I would get angry. I would use boxing skills to defend myself and anger to defend myself.”

He doesn’t make excuses for the fight that turned ugly and sent him to jail for seven years but now at an age where most are planning their retirement he’s trying to rebuild his life. He says he’s just happy for the opportunity

“I’m alive, I’m free, I have a paycheck. I can rent a room, I’m looking forward to buying a car," he said.

John is one of the people the city wants us to consider as they push for ex-offender opportunities. Convincing people they deserve another chance, always, but especially now during the holiday season.

He told us that his new outlook on life is really making a difference.

“I don’t have to act out because someone disrespected me. I can say alright young man you got it, alright brother you got it and love and forgive them and pray for them.”

Roughly 50,000 people return to Philadelphia from prison every year. It is impacting every neighborhood and especially during the holidays we need more businesses like John’s employer Team Clean to help address it.  The company owner Donna Allie says her experiences have influenced how she interacts with her employees.

“I had a degree but no one would give me a chance to work anywhere. So I ended up on public assistance.”

When Ms. Allie entered the work force she also struggled. It wasn’t a legal struggle but with no work she started cleaning houses. Now, the owner of a successful cleaning company she never forgot her own challenges.

Approaching 1,000 employees and with contracts throughout the city Donna’s Team Clean is committed to giving ex-offenders that chance they need.

“I see individuals when they come in the lobby their head is down but when they find out they have a job, They’re walking different.”

John and Team Clean are not alone but they are an example of the difference the city hopes we can make in each of our communities if now during the holidays consider giving a second chance. For Goodness Sake.


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