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Eleven years ago, I was 20 years old when I was charged with 1st degree robbery in Washington state. I had been hanging out with a few people that I shouldn’t have and we were drinking and before I knew it, I was involved in a robbery. A “friend” of mine pulled a b.b. gun on someone and took the deposit bags he was holding and we ran off. I was arrested and spent 3 years in prison. I had never been in trouble before this, (And haven’t been in the 11 years since) but I wasn’t given a chance, just shoved off to prison. While in prison, I took advantage of the computer courses and school courses that they offered, I worked and never got into trouble while I was in prison. I was released in 2003 and life has not been easy since. I was in college when I was arrested, when I got out, I tried to go back but the degree I was going for, (business) would be a waste of my time because of my crime, (I was told this by my counselor) so I went to work instead of school. I have worked very hard since then but have missed out on a ton of opportunities given to me because I am a felon, (management, supervisory, etc….) I am basically stuck in a low income job and I can’t seem to move on because of my past. I have 3 beautiful children that I struggle to take care of and I don’t know how I am going to explain being a loser to them when they are older. Due to Washington state law, I can never clear my record or seal it so I feel like I will be stuck here forever. I am trying to advance and make the most out of life, but this felony is holding me back and most people won’t look past the records check that lists: Class A Violent Felony; 1st Degree Robbery. I know that I have messed up, I paid my 6 year debt to society, (3 on probation) and am working hard to provide a good life for my wife and kids. I have changed, all I am asking for is a second chance to prove it. Me making 1 mistake in life shouldn’t destroy my families shot at happiness.

User story by FGS in Washington

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