Newly Released From Prison, This Convict Is Finding His Footing Through Modeling

Jeremy Meeks will face the challenges of anyone with a record.

He was known as our nation's "best-looking" convict while he was behind bars, but he's recently been released from prison. Now he faces another harsh reality of the United States justice system.

Jeremy Meeks quickly became famous when his mugshot was posted online following a June 2014 arrest on a weapons charge.

"I want them to know that this is really not me," he told News 10 at the time. "I'm not some kingpin."

Meeks, who lives in Stockton, California with his wife and three kids, now has to face the task that more than 600,000 people face every year after being let out of state or federal prisons: finding a job. 

In the United States, finding work as an ex-con is extremely difficult. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights found that 60 percent of formerly incarcerated people can't find work after being released from prison, and 76 percent said it was "very difficult or nearly impossible" to find a job. Sometimes, even being highly trained isn't enough to get you employment. 

"When I came home in 2001 it was hard for me," one formerly incarcerated individual from Chicago told the center. "It was hard for me because after doing six years straight, I was certified to be a butcher, but I still couldn't get a job anywhere—not even at the little grocery store—because of the record. So it was hard; it was hard for me to find some work when I came home." 

Because so many have trouble finding work after prison, there has been a national movement to "ban the box" that requires anyone with a record to disclose that they've been in prison. Even President Barack Obama has called on Congress to pass a measure that would restrict federal hiring and contractors from including the box on job applications, making it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to find work and begin a new life. 

The 32-year-old Meeks, who didn't respond to a request to comment for this article, has posted on his Instagram page that he'll be working with photographer Jim Jordan to get his modeling career started.

It's a a fortunate break for an individual who has the luxury of looks and Internet fame that most former convicts do not. 

If you'd like to participate, take the pledge to ban the box and welcome formerly incarcerated individuals into your community and workplace.