Justice

This 'Hot Felon' Became a Viral Meme and Is Now the Luckiest Guy Ever

April 5th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

For some, becoming a viral meme is a life ruiner. However, the opposite is true for convicted felon Jeremy Meeks, whose "Hot Felon" mug shot went viral in June 2014 and made him an Internet celebrity.

 

Photo of: Jeremy MeeksSPD NEWS - WESTON RANCH OPERATION CEASEFIRE ENFORCEMENT MISSIONDue to a recent increase of...

Posted by Stockton Police Department on Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BuzzFeed News reported last month that Meeks is finally out of prison, where he did time for a felony weapons charges, and that his agent Jim Jordan is in talks with various modeling agencies to land him work. Meeks has more than 230,000 followers on his verified Instagram page, and while many have praised Meeks for inadvertently turning his life around with his sparkly blue eyes and chiseled facial features, the reality is that many people do not leave prison with fame or the same job prospects as Meeks.

 

A photo posted by JEREMY MEEKS (@jmeeksofficial) on

The sad reality of life after prison.

Though leaving prison might seem like a dream come true to outsiders, it can be incredibly difficult to find work and acclimate to the real world again after serving time. A 2015 poll from The New York Times, CBS News, and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that around 34 percent of all non-working men ages 25 to 54 have criminal records. A criminal past can discourage people from applying to jobs, as many employers are wary of bringing on those with a criminal record, and this can create higher recidivism rates.

Last year, ATTN:'s Alex Mierjeski interviewed former inmate Joe Dyer, who detailed the struggle of landing employment. Though he held jobs in prison, he lacked a certificate or degree of any kind to validate his skills, making it that much harder for him to find work.

"I have two strikes against me: I'm an ex-con and I'm also, 64 years old - and have been told I should retire. I wish," Dyer said. "Since my prison jobs didn't pay into Social Security, I am ineligible for Medicare or Social Security benefits for another year and a half. Even then, the Social Security check will be pathetic, since I haven't paid much in. I have many practical job skills, but no certification or license, so I'm blocked from many jobs I am otherwise qualified for."

Chris Martinez

Also last year, ATTN:'s Nicole Charky interviewed convicted felon Chris Martinez, who reported facing the same challenges securing a gig.

"It’s been hard trying to get jobs because the employers, all they see is a felony," Martinez told ATTN: at the time. "They typically don’t want to know details."

Watch ATTN:'s video about Martinez below:

 

It makes no sense that possessing marijuana can haunt you for the rest of your life.

Posted by ATTN: on Sunday, October 4, 2015

FULL STORY: Why This Convicted Marijuana Felon Wants His Life Back