Latecia Hill on Her Fight for a Fair Chance

April 16, 2024

By Latecia Hill (Leading with Conviction™ 2024 participant):

At age 50, I was indicted, convicted, and sent to prison for three years as a first-time offender of a non-violent crime. I was charged with one count of conspiracy and coerced to accept a plea deal.

I succinctly recall preparing for life after prison prior to spending my first night on the other side of the wall. As a self-surrender, I was afforded the opportunity to create a strategy for my reintegration into society during my pre-trial phase, which lasted just over two years. Of all the things I considered, I never gave finding suitable employment a second thought. Prior to my conviction, I experienced a very successful corporate career in the finance industry, spanning over 25 years. While I knew with my criminal conviction I’d never be able to secure a position in my area of specialty, I never considered that, with my skills and willingness to work, I would be unhireable.

Upon completion of our sentences, our time should be done!

Upon my release from prison, I would spend the next two years actively seeking gainful employment of any type. I sat through the humiliating agony of sharing painful intimate details of my past with strangers during job interviews, only to be met with rejection. I found out that not only do I have a felony conviction on my record, I also have a global exclusionary flag that appears when a background check is run by potential employers. I quickly learned that I now am part of the group of over 70 million Americans with a prior criminal record, who face more than 40,000 collateral consequences, leading to a life sentence of post-conviction poverty. It’s been three years since my release from prison, and I am still unable to find work. Although I have no income, I am still among the fortunate, because my children and village are able to financially support me. Otherwise, I’d be homeless, hungry, and on the streets.

Because of my professional background, and inspired by my lived reentry experience, I founded Gateway Alliance Project, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization aimed at improving the roads to reentry for the formerly incarcerated and providing alternatives to diversion for at-risk youth in my community prior to encountering the carceral system. As part of this work, I advocate for “clean slate” legislation. I am the DFW Team Lead for the Time Done Movement – Texas Chapter, and a Board Steering Committee Member for Statewide Leadership Council, joining others on the state and national levels in the fight for a second chance.

Upon completion of our sentences, our time should be done! On the road to redemption, it is imperative that we have access to fair-chance employment opportunities, providing sustainable wages, allowing us to come out of post-conviction poverty, thereby reducing recidivism while improving public safety overall.


(Photo above courtesy of Latecia Hill, used by permission)

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