Should a felony conviction automatically prevent someone from obtaining work? No; not unless society is ready and willing to support them because they can’t pay their own way.
When a felon applies for a job and is honest on their application the employer should go a step further and find out what the felony was before they deny someone a chance to earn an honest living. When someone is released from prison or probation, they have been given a second chance to do the right thing. If they are denied work then one of two things will eventually happen. 1) Because they cannot obtain employment, then the tax payers will have to pay for them to be housed, clothed and fed through the Welfare system. Or, 2) Because they have been denied over and over a chance to work honestly, they will be forced to commit other crimes in order to survive.
I personally have a felony background for writing bad checks many years ago. To this day it is nearly impossible for me to obtain gainful employment outside of the home. Everywhere I have applied for a position that I was well qualified for, my background check would come back and the prospective employer would look no further than where it says convicted felon. Not one time out of the hundreds of jobs I’ve applied for over the past 10 years, has a single employer ever even bothered to ask me about my felonies or even check further into my background. I had written many bad checks while I was running away from my very violent husband at the time. I had my three kids with me and we were running literally from state to state. Regardless of my reasons for writing the checks, it was wrong to do it and I have paid dearly for it. I spent nearly 2 years in prison; lost in the system and when I did finally make it out, I couldn’t get a job anywhere. Sure, people say they want to give an ex-felon a chance but they never follow through with it.
Fortunately for me, I had a wonderful family support system and I now have 2 published books and do volunteer work for a prison fellowship but my ability to overcome obstacles was because of my faith and my family; certainly not any prospective employers!
Society needs to realize that not all felons are violent, sex offenders, murders or drug dealers/abusers and someone who has paid their debt to society deserves the chance to work and support themselves. Until employers are willing to give felons a second chance, we will be seeing more and more crimes on the rise right along with our taxes!