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Most Felon Friendly States

Most Felon Friendly States

Once a felony has stained a record, it can pose difficulties in integrating into society once released from prison. It can be a chance to start a brand-new life in a different state. The problem is finding the most suitable state to live in because some states take stringent measures against a felon, while some are friendlier.

Many felons find it hard to get decent employment, housing and other public benefits. Research by the Legal Action Center showed that up to 75% of felons could not find jobs a year after their release. The result is most felons end up going back to crime and jail again.

Statistics show that 1 in every 3 Americans has a criminal record. That amounts to approximately 70 million Americans. In this article, we look at the most felon friendly states.

What is Considered a Felony?

These are serious offenses as regarded by society and in law. They attract different punishments according to the circumstances under which the felony is committed and its severity.

They include:-

  • Rape
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Drug charges

Some consequences come with having a felony in your record. Most states have harsh rules that put restrict felons in the services and benefits they can obtain. The list below indicates some of the consequences of having a criminal record.

1 Lack of access to public benefits. A felon in need of further studies may not get funding from the state.

2 Loss of voting rights.

3 Lack of employment.

4 Travel restrictions outside the US.

5 Loss of the right to hold a public office

6 Losing parental rights.

7 Loss of the right to serve as a jury

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Felon Friendly State

Finding a suitable place to live, work, and being allowed to continue life as an ordinary citizen is essential. It makes the process of reorganizing your life easier.

When picking a felon-friendly state, these are the factors you should consider.

the most felons friendly states

  • Ease of access to services and jobs
  • Protection and reinstatement of your civil rights
  • Ease of access to decent housing.
  • Salary cap and background check exemptions.

A friendly state should have means that help you blend more easily into the community. The most crucial factor is access to decent employment. Conviction and incarceration come with job loss, and a criminal record makes it challenging to find a job.

Here are the Most Felon Friendly States

A state that makes jobs accessible to felons solves other problems with it. A felon with decent employment is less likely to fall back into crime because it helps them find decent housing and improves their quality of life.

What makes most of the states below fall into this list is the 7-year limit on background checks before employment—counting of the seven years begins from the date of conviction.

1 California

2 Kansas

3 Massachusetts

4 Nevada

5 New York

6 Texas

7 Washington

8 New Mexico

9 Colorado

10 Montana

Here is a complete list of the states where the 7-year background check rule applies. They make the most felon friendly states.


California is a haven for felons thanks to the 7-year limit on background checks and no salary cap. An employer is not allowed to look into a candidate’s criminal history beyond seven years, irrespective of the amount of pay in question. It is considered among the friendliest states for felons because of the wide range of re-entry programs.

most felon friendly state

The state is a felon-friendly nature, but, surprisingly, it has not lowered recidivism rates, which stands at 50% and has been for the last ten years.


Kansas also applies the 7-year rule and a salary cap of $20,000 annually, and the state goes further to support felons by offering access to education and counseling. Each correctional facility has many programs and means to help felons manage better outside prison.

After conviction, a felon loses their right to vote but they can re-apply to have the rights reinstated upon release from prison. The recidivism rate is only 33.1% for the last three years because felons receive much support.


The state of Massachusetts also implements the 7-year rule and a salary cap of $20,000 per year. The re-entry programs cover the most basic needs and wants of any felon. There is support offered in education, employment coaching, housing, and rehabilitation, the average recidivism rate for the last three years is 32%.


Nevada offers a 7-year limit and no salary cap. The state goes further to support felons in settling down, access education and counseling. It ensures that the transition to civil life is as seamless as possible.

Upon release from prison, a felon’s right to vote is reinstated. The Nevada Department of Corrections report indicates that only 28.63% of felons fall back to crime.

New York

For the state of New York, the 7-year check limit also applies while data shows that 40% of felons go back to crime and the salary cap is $25,000.

most felon friendly state tips

Like most states, New York offers felons channels to help them adapt better to society and cope. The state is favorable for felons because it offers 10 programs and services to help them find work, housing, legal services, education, and health services. It has a broad approach towards assistance to felons.


Texas offers a salary cap of $75,000 with a 7-year background check limit. The state is keen on integrating felons into the community. It offers elaborate employment coaching programs to help felons secure meaningful employment.

After completing a sentence and probation, a felon can apply for their civil rights. There are some occasions where you can regain your full rights, and the state only has a 21.4% chance of felons going back to crime.


For the state of Washington, the criminal background limit is ten years. Employers are free to ask for details of criminal history. The salary cap is $20,000. The restoration of voting rights only happens after completing the sentence and probation and the recidivism rate for the last three years is 32%.

There are multiple programs to help ex-convicts transition to life after prison. Counseling and rehabilitation for felons with drug-related problems are available. Those felons with domestic violence history have their rights to own firearms stripped. California is the most felon friendly state because it offers the largest range of re-entry programs.

New Mexico

The 7-year background check limit is available and a $20,000 salary cap. With the completion of a sentence together with a probation period, a felon can vote. There are elaborate programs to help felons shift into civil life and the right to own firearms restores after ten years. The recidivism rate for the last three years is, however, 50%. Because the state has a criminal record expungement program for felony dismissals, it is among the most felon friendly states.


Colorado offers a 7-year limit and a $75,000 salary cap. It has centers all over the state to help rehabilitate felons by offering elaborate services. Re-entry services help felons transition into the communities and search for work and housing simplified. Despite the amount of support offered, the Colorado District Attorney still reports a 50% rate of felons who return to crime.

most felon friendly state guide


Montana offers a 7-year limit with no salary cap. Felons have to register anew to be able to vote. The state’s programs to help felons cope are in housing, counseling and rehab facilities, and finding shelters for juveniles.

There is a 42.2% rate of felons who return to crime.

Read more: Tops Friendly Markets Holiday Hours


To conclude, the states discussed above all offer a period after which background checks on a criminal record cannot be run, making them the most felon friendly states. California and Montana’s states have no cap on salary, prohibiting an employer from going beyond the 7-year check limit. That makes them good choices or professionals capable of getting high-paying jobs.

We cannot particularly point to one single state that can offer everything to felons, but some make it easier to transition than others. Lowering the level of access to basic needs and employment for felons is vital. It ensures that felons find it easy to restart civil life and adapt faster to life after conviction and incarceration.

Failure to help felons transition can increase recidivism rates, as shown here by the World Population Review.

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18 thoughts on “Most Felon Friendly States”

  1. It means that if the job your applying for pays more then what the income cap is for a felon in your state for example if it is a 20,000 yearly cap and you get paid more an then that year end cap they can go further back in background check. If it’s under the cap limit I pretty sure they can’t even do a back ground or only do back ground check for the 7yrs only

  2. New Mexico should be removed from this list. No employers there will accept felons except for truck driving…maybe. The 7 year limit thing in NM is, in short, bs. Employers in NM can and will go further back than 7 years. It is no wonder the crime in the ‘land of entrapment’ is out of control–ex felons seeking employment are turned down. This is particularly hard on ladies with problem backgrounds. My best friend there can’t get any job or justice.
    She divorced her husband and both he and his daughter put false charges on her that is ruining everything. Can’t find a legal system to help either. He has $$ and political influence–she doesn’t. Don’t go to New Mexico!

  3. That’s nice for some felons, but not all. If you’re a registered sex offender for any reason, even where there was no violence or threat of violence, it’s a burden for the rest of your life. Never again will you have a normal healthy life. People who don’t even know you will hate and shun you even decades after your offense. I’ve lived in seclusion for over two decades after my offense. I rarely leave the house, I don’t try to make friends who say they “understand,” but will throw your past in your face the first time they have a bad day.

    I know I’ll never re-offend because I have absolutely no desire to, and I have over 20 years to back that up. I’m pretty self sufficient and can handle isolation better than most, but it isn’t healthy. I’m old now. I doubt that I’ll live long enough to see a day when I can truly be free. I see society breaking down all around me, yet I can’t own a gun to defend myself, or even body armor to keep from being shot. I’ve given up any hope of ever seeing any effort to reform the laws to coincide with the individual as he lives today versus a huge mistake he made one time decades ago.

  4. We call ourselves”Christian People” and here we are marking people as if they are animals just because they messed up terribly and pay their times and still get shun. God tell us to forgive. They judging the felons as if they don’t have a soul. Like they boo boo smell like roses.

  5. I’m in Texas right now just moved here from California. I’m not to sure about jobs yet, but I can say I can’t find a apartment for the life of me. I even had someone tell me there background check goes back a hundred years. As if someone that age. Smh. I’m still looking for a good state I can go and be able to live a decent normal life.

  6. I was just convicted of hindering prosecution. I will be terminated from my job. Is there any state I can go to that will hire me? I live in Arizona where there isn’t any expungment to records…

  7. I’ma in Utah and I’m trying to move
    Being a felon over 7 years ago hurts getting housing anywhere. I have like 12k down payment for a house on the west coast or Colorado. Anyone got any ideas

  8. currently in pa am looking to leave prior to sentencinjg making me yes wanted id rather that then rot like a animal behind bars for the remaining few good years i mite still have no monies and despaarte, aside from suicide which i cnt seem to accomplish still there must be meaning, i refuse tothink or entertain the notion it over…… any advice help or suggestions woulkjd be much asppreciated

  9. Deborah Dirk Halley

    New Mexico should be off the felon friendly list. My record goes back 36 years. The cops still watch me even the utility company watches me because I can only use a space heater due to lack of heat in the house. I am house sitting. Employers shun me and treat me really bad act like I am Jack the Ripper. Nonviolent crime. Contribute to society and are isolated from the world.

  10. Deborah Dirk Halley

    New Mexico should be vf taken off vfc the Felony friendly state. They shun and despise Felons. They will not let them in housung, jobs, or food. You will have to live with parents or family members .

  11. I am in Texas and have a felony from 1981 that still comes up on my background checks. Over 40 years ago and it still hinders me from getting a decent job.

  12. I am a property manager in Oklahoma. I will rent to people with felony backgrounds, as long as it is disclosed on the application. With that being said, there are certain cases that I cannot rent to. I will look at each case individually, so don’t count yourself out without trying. Please reach out if you are interested, and if I can help you, I will. There are also felon-friendly jobs here. Google Chandler, Oklahoma.

  13. I turned 18 in Raiford, Fl. in 1972 Because A neighbor continually threw raw eggs at me when I passed her house because I had long hair. I went inside her screened in porch to spray paint graffiti on the walls and windows and got charged with burglary. Almost 50 years ago. These minor crimes should not haunt an exfelon for life. I taught myself a/c and refrigeration and restaurant cooking equipment repair and have been self employed almost 40 years doing repairs for several popular fast food restaurants. Buy 500 business cards and give them to the managers every chance you get. Sometimes their regular guy doesn’t show up to do a job and they will call you instead. Then the manager starts recommending you to other managers or if they change jobs to a different restaurant for more money, they will call you to this new restaurant and your customers multiply.

  14. STAY OUT of New Mexico. They are above the law. That’s the 2nd time I’ve moved there with these hopes, only to leave a few months later with zero phone calls.

    Take them off the listServ say you one, say you all.

  15. I unfortunately was born and raised in New Mexico
    And I freaking hate it. BUT about felons if you can’t find a job it’s because you ain’t looking for it. If you really want to work hit up some construction sites landscaping companies people who are doing roofing,sheet rock,tile, restaurants they always need help. You do good you get paid good just like any other job. US felons should have been working instead of picking up a felony cases.

  16. Wild how they say crime doesn’t pay funny lawyer’s judges as well as police all get paid now I did my time but still after 7 yr no look back law in Maryland for jobs 20k and below that isn’t enough for any one to live talk about a foot of ur neck ! All due to me buying two tvs off my kids mother that was hit and I wasn’t going to tell on her. What kind of father would I be doing that ? Should of but I cared about my kids and didn’t want them in the system. But still to this very day I paid m debit to the state but why am I still un able to find a job it’s been 8 years no charges at all all about putting u back behind bars . Only thing with that is they turn u into a monster from it ! Maryland sucks

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