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Kansas Citians with criminal pasts get second chance at careers

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 18:01:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Every year, thousands of people are let out of prison only to find that landing a job is nearly impossible. 

On Wednesday, people in Kansas City with criminal pasts were given a second chance at careers. 

Off and on, Desiree Lee has spent nearly seven years behind bars. She said her record has made it hard for her to find and stick with a job.

"When you go put a job application in and they see that you're a felon, it is very hard for us felons to try to find employment, and this is a great opportunity for us to try to have a new opportunity in our life," said Lee.

Lee was released from jail on April 17. Looking to make a change in her life, she went to the first Ex-Offender Hiring Fair hosted by Kansas City Police. 

"Our job is not arresting bad guys. Our job is reducing crime and providing a better place for Kansas Citians to live, work, and play," said Sgt. Jonathan Cranston with Kansas City Police. 

More than 20 employers looking to hire conducted on-the-spot interviews. Cranston said giving ex-offenders a second chance is crucial to their futures. 

"Often times people who go to prison get out of prison and then go right back to prison because they don't have the skills to be a productive member of society," said Cranston. 

Kansas City Police also raffled off bikes that had been donated by Walmart. 

"If they can get to and from work then they're more likely to keep their job," said Cranston. 

Lee said she never wins anything and after the hiring fair, she is leaving with more than just a new bike. 

"I'm feeling outstanding. I got a new bicycle and possibly a new job and a new chapter in my life," said Lee. 

This was the first year for the Ex-Offender Hiring Fair. Kansas City Police hope to host similar events at least once a year.