Prison life in the U.S. is hard enough, but some ex-convicts end up committing more crime that puts them back in Jail. This is because the system makes it difficult for a former convict to reintegrate into society. With a criminal record, it is hard enough to get a job and finding a home can also be a challenge because landlords are usually not willing to offer their facilities to a person who has previously been in jail.
The case of Matthew Charles
Matthew Charles has firsthand experiences with these issues as a former convict. Matthew stepped into the limelight after being recognized and applauded by U.S. President Donald Trump as one of the individuals released from prison courtesy of the First Step Act. The latter is a recent law implemented in 2018 and has received immense support from President Trump and another unlikely public figure, Kim Kardashian West.
Unfortunately, the support from the U.S. President and King Kardashian was, however, not enough for Charles to find a place to live. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 1996 for trafficking cocaine. He obtained freedom in January of this year as a beneficiary of the First Step Act and was flaunted as the face of successful reform.
Kim Kardashian offered support to the ex-convict by catering to Matthew’s rent. He applied for a rent lease at an apartment in Nashville, Tennessee. However, the application was rejected simply because he had a criminal record. The apartment he applied to is called Forest Park which is located in the North Eastern part of Nashville. But the application was turned down on March 6th, 2019.
Amy Jansch, the acting manager for the apartment building, revealed that applicants are subject to a background check. A criminal background is one of the factors that might lead to applications being turned down.
Former convicts have a hard time reintegrating into society
Individuals such as Charles who have a felony record and have served time in jail usually have a difficult time once they are released into society. In his particular situation, he was turned away by two apartment buildings where he had applied to rent. Furthermore, the fact that the president recognized him and a celebrity was willing to pay his rent did not help his situation.