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15 Best Side Hustles You Can Do If You Just Left Prison

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15 Best Side Hustles You Can Do If You Just Left Prison

Leaving prison after a long sentence comes with mixed feelings.

Persons leaving prison without a strong family support system and post-release programs often recommit the same crime that sent them to prison in the first place.

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To reduce recidivism, the U.S prison system does offer after-release programs to help inmates reintegrate back into the society they left long ago.

For instance, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation provides comprehensive post-release programs throughout California. These programs are delivered through residential, out-patient and drop-in centers.

In addition to these programs which are often handyman vocational skills, a person leaving prison needs to start thinking about acquiring skills that would make him/her be sort after and valuable to society.

In this article, I will share insight on some of these skills. A few of them are technical and will require training which of course translates to better pay and some could be used as starter jobs or side hustles.

Key Highlights                                  

 🎯 Acquiring training in a vocation or high-end skill helps one reintegrate faster into society.

 🎯 Gaining valuable skills and using them reduces recidivism.

 🎯 Having a felony record isn’t the end. You could still build a good reputation by getting employed.

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 🎯 Persons leaving prison are often highly creative and curious giving them opportunities to channel their energies to positive things.

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The majority of people consider America to be the world’s giant in terms of technology, employment, and living standard life.

However, did you realize that the United States also leads the world in terms of incarceration?

There are millions of felons in America battling with how to make their life right again. If you’re one of them, you’re aware that finding a solid job isn’t all bed of roses for convicts.

In reality, for ex-offenders and felons, finding any form of employment at all is sometimes the toughest struggle. Opportunities may appear to be scarce; but here are a few that can keep you going.

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15. Mechanical Engineering Technician

While carrying out their sentences, some convicts have the chance to learn mechanics. Because of this, mechanical engineering technology frequently offers excellent employment opportunities for ex-offenders.

You can pursue career prospects that involve assisting engineers in the creation, modification, and testing of numerous kinds of mechanical machinery and equipment with extra vocational training after your release.

14. Substance Abuse Counselor

You may have valuable knowledge to impart to others who need assistance in making better life decisions as someone who has made significant mistakes and paid a high price for them.

Many social agencies have found that ex-offenders and ex-addicts can be highly skilled at counseling others because they have first-hand experience.

These agencies/organizations assist people who are struggling with understanding the difficulties of addiction by hiring convicted felons who have experienced behavioral or substance misuse issues of their own.

13. Computer Network Support Specialist

For convicted felons who do not have a history of fraud, theft, violence, or computer-related offenses, the large field of information technology (IT) has a reputation for offering some lucrative opportunities.

Therefore, if you fit those requirements and have prior computer knowledge or a keen interest in learning more, you might want to think about taking this route.

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Nowadays, practically every business requires a quick, secure, and dependable internal network in addition to consistent internet connectivity.

Your career may involve troubleshooting, analyzing, and testing different kinds of computer networks to reduce the amount of time that they are offline if you have the right training and qualifications.

12. Electrician

Even if you know nothing about this field, committing to electrician training programs would be a good start. This is another route that ex-cons can take to secure well-paying employment.

However, to become a professional electrician, you will need to complete further training, but most of it will be paid for.

Simply look into your state’s licensure criteria since some criminal offenses may disqualify you.

Nevertheless, some electrical contracting businesses are founded by ex-offenders who wish to provide others with the same opportunity that they had.

11. Web Designer or Developer

Some positions for people with felonies on their records allow for self-employment. One of them is web design.

As a web designer, you can work with as many clients as you like remotely from your home designing and coding websites.

Since you are self-employed, you generally won’t need to pass any background checks before getting a job.  

10. Freelance Writer

Writing is one of the most lucrative many work-from-home professions that has led many to a state of financial freedom.

This job is suitable for everyone including those with criminal records. Quality content is in high demand from several companies, publishers, and other organizations for things like sales and marketing collateral, ad copy, internet content, and magazine articles.

Some businesses employ in-house writers, in which case a background investigation may be conducted on you.

But since many successful authors, and employers seek up-to-the-task freelancers to work for them, that particular barrier (background) is gone.

9. Commercial Diver

In simple terms, people with felony records can become commercial drivers. As long as you haven’t gotten convicted of drug trafficking, weapon smuggling, and other high-end crimes, you can become a commercial driver.

Some prisons like the Chino State Prison in California even train commercial drivers. There aren’t many more exciting potential occupations for convicted felons or former prisoners than this one.

Your career prospects may be influenced by the specific charges against you as well as the length of time since your release from jail.

8. Graphic Designer

If you possess any artistic talents or expertise, you may consider becoming a graphic designer. Several ex-cons do possess one hidden talent or the other.

If you’re one of them, you might be able to turn your skills into a rewarding profession with a wide range of opportunities.

Almost every business that needs to sell its goods or services uses graphic design. And graphic design professionals now have the opportunity to work on print, web, and multimedia projects.

One of the best occupations for offenders with creative skills is this one, which even lends itself nicely to becoming self-employed.

7. Mobile App Developer

Being a mobile app developer might be one of the highest-paying jobs for criminals looking for a second opportunity.

As long as you can prove your credibility and show that you have the necessary skills, you might be able to find some good opportunities given the rising demand for mobile app developers and the difficulty many companies are having filling open positions in this industry.

6. Film or Video Editor

One of the most interesting careers that former prisoners can get might be this one. It calls for inventiveness and specialized technical skills, among other things, but you can certainly learn everything you need to know at an art school or career college.

Furthermore, as more businesses choose to sell themselves through expert online videos, chances are that the prospects could expand in quantity.

And if you’re concerned about background checks, you can also conduct this kind of work on a freelance basis.

5. Painter

Needless to say that all buildings need to have paint on their walls for them to be both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.

For the same reasons, several other buildings and huge pieces of machinery also require painting.

Therefore, painting is frequently fantastic employment for ex-offenders who can establish their reliability and who need to start earning money in a skill that they can pick up rather fast.

4. Carpenter

For ex-offenders, the carpentry industry frequently offers strong employment prospects. Just make sure to check your state’s license standards to see if your specific felony convictions would be an issue.

Ex-cons who have developed prosperous businesses in the profession and are eager to give back frequently provide carpentry jobs that hire convicted criminals.

3. Solar Energy Technician

Similar to wind energy, the expanding sector of solar energy may give convicted criminals a decent second opportunity at employment.

The demand for solar panels and related technologies is increasing as their costs keep falling. Installing solar energy systems correctly on rooftops or in other places where they can be most successful frequently requires expert, trained solar energy technicians.

Just get committed to training and you can also become an expert solar energy technician.

2. Oil and Gas Rotary Drill Operator

Can you live outside major cities and towns if it would avail you an opportunity to restructure your life? If yes, this could be a good fit.

Rotary drill operators are recognized for having labor-intensive duties, just like derrick operators.

If you prove your preparedness to work hard, learn new skills, and live in rural areas, you may be able to obtain some of the available positions.

Large drills that extract oil, gas, or core samples from the earth’s crust may enlist your assistance in their setup and operation.

1. Auto Mechanic

Even though fixing vehicles and trucks needs specialized abilities, you can start working in this line of work with just a year or less of training at an automotive trade school.

For people who prefer working on heavy-duty vehicles, a diesel mechanic school can provide advantages similar to these.

People with criminal records have a long history of finding employment in the auto servicing sector.

Depending on the specifics of your criminal history and how much you’ve changed as a person while serving your sentence, your chances may vary.

Final Thoughts

Having a criminal conviction on your record might make moving up in life feel a bit challenging.

Ex-felons deal with stigmatization which reduces their chances of getting jobs that require a high level of trust. However, gaining valuable skills that will make you sort after improves your chances of getting that high-paying job or side hustle.