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Starting a Business as a Former Inmate

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Starting a Business as a Former Inmate

By JamieD
Published: March 24, 2010 Updated: May 20, 2015

Each year, almost 650,000 people are released from federal and state prisons to be reintegrated into society. Statistics
say that a form of secure and stable employment is vital to a successful transition; however, these individuals often face difficult barriers when it comes to rejoining the workforce. Fortunately, there are resources and opportunities available for former inmates to start their own businesses. Check out this quick guide for more information.

Finding Employment

Finding employment as a former inmate can be challenging - especially when a job requires specific marketable skills and applicable work experience. Aware of the importance of successful reintegration, Federal and state government officials are taking steps to help support this process.In 2004 President Bush proposed The Prisoner Reentry Initiative** to provide assistance and job training to these individuals to help them become successful, contributing members of society.


For more on employment re-entry, see reentry.gov's national and state activities and resources or the National Reentry Resource Center's employment guide*.

Starting a Business

Most former inmates believe that because of their status, they will not be allowed or able to start their own
business. While it's true that getting started and raising capital can be difficult, that is true for any entrepreneur, regardless of their status.

There are no regulations that prohibit former inmates from obtaining a business license or owning their own business. By starting their own business, former inmates may avoid the stigma or qualification issues that often arise when applying for jobs with outside employers.

As is the case for any business owner, former inmates are accountable for the typical responsibilities that come with starting and running your own business. For more information, check out these Business.gov resources that will guide you through the process from start-up to operation:

Incentives - The Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Because former inmates are treated to the same status as other business owners, there are no special programs
designed to help start or fund the businesses of former inmates. However, if you own a business that employs or is considering employing persons with a criminal record, you may be eligible for a tax incentive. If a former inmate started a business and chose to employ other former inmates, they may then be eligible for this tax incentive as well.

Check out the Work Opportunity Tax Credit that is available for businesses that employ ex-felons.

About the Author:


I was just released from prison on april 28th 2015 after 2years for a violating probation from a dwi and was wondering how do I go about getting a loan to get my landscaping business started? also in prison we received a paper with some info about how myself as an ex-felon could get some$ to help me buy a vehicle which I need obviously to get my business going! do I call my local SCORE OFFICE or is there someplace else I'm supposed to contact about this?
How do I gain minority status (8(a) or mbe) as an ex-felon
Starting a business can be challenging for anybody, especially for a former inmate. However, it is possible to achieve with perseverance, dedication and hard work. Maintaining the business could be even more challenging with procedures such as hiring the right people, building a brand and so on. Our Bail Bond Agency believes that everybody deserves a second chance. Sometimes people make mistakes, but there is always hope that they turn their lives back around. Family and friend's support are very important in the former inmates after their releases and while they integrate back to society.
Okay you're right about ex-convicts not being able to get financing for a business.  These comments still havent answered that question.  It should be a time limit, and in some states if you apply fo a pardon you have to wait about 2 years before that can go through like in Alabama.  It's a long process and applying for a pardon may be your best option but you will have a while to wait and that still doesn't guarantee that you'll get the loan.
Stating a business I think it all depends on the crime, some inmates are locked away just for playing the fool.If they can get help to start a business, it may be what some people need, a future without crime,however I think they should carry special Id cards when working in donestic home. Steve MaitlandCCTV Suppliers Message Edited by ZanetaB on 12-29-2009 05:35 PM

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