Employment Security Department

Offender/Ex-Offender Resources



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 Services and Programs | Employment | Transition to Re-Entry | Recovery Assistance
Research, Policy and Advocacy | Legal Assistance and Status | Child Support and Corrections
Pre-employment Inquiries

Services and Programs

Bonding Program

The Washington Bonding Program provides, at no cost to the employer or applicant, individual fidelity bonds to employers for applicants who are, or may be, denied coverage by commercial carriers because of their at-risk status. The fidelity bonds issued by the WBP function as an employer job-hire incentive.

U.S. Pretrial and Probation Workforce Development for Western Washington

The Workforce Development Website for the Western District of Washington is a self-directed resource for Federal Pretrial and Probation clients.  The services are dedicated in providing career assistance for individuals with criminal histories to obtain meaningful employment which in turn, improves the likelihood of job retention that reduces the rate of recidivism.  Find region-specific resources and events to address barriers and other obstacles to achieving gainful employment.   

AARP Foundation WorkSearch

AARP Foundation WorkSearch offers free employment and training services to older workers 55+ who meet residential and income eligibility.  Individuals with a felony conviction are welcome to call and inquiry about enrollment. There are two Project Sites in Washington:  Seattle (206-624-6698) and Spokane (509-325-7712).  The Seattle site primarily operates in King and Snohomish Counties while the Spokane Site offers services throughout Eastern Washington.

If eligible, participants are assigned to community service at a local nonprofit for 18 hours a week, which is paid at minimum wage.  Next, each participant is assigned to an Employment Specialist; together they create a customized employment and training plan.  Additionally, WorkSearch will fund classes if related to the job search and compensate for time in class as well.  The Program is short-term (months not years) with the expectation that participants are actively conducting a job search.  The AARP Foundation WorkSearch Program has the highest placement rate of all Senior Community Service Employment Programs in the U.S.  Staff is committed to helping those in need find their way back to work.


4People.org is a comprehensive online resources, services and programs listings for each county in Washington State. 4People Offender/Ex-Offender Resources excel spreadsheets with contact information can be found at http://4People.org/Reentry/Reentry.html or under Resources on each county’s website. Mobile/cell phone access to resource listings can be found at http://mobile.4People.org.

Use the 4People directory of Self Help Tools to help people out of poverty, find housing, employment, education and health care. Contact@4People.org for updates, corrections and comments.

Veterans' Incarcerated Reintegration Project

The Veteran's Incarcerated Reintegration Project, a joint project with King, Pierce, Thurston and Clark Counties to address the needs of veterans’ incarcerated in County Correctional Facilities, offering alternatives to jail and referral to housing, employment services, and treatment. Many of the veterans have come to the jail due to un-treated drug and alcohol issues, poverty, homelessness, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For more information on how WorkSource can help Veterans with a conviction history please connect to http://www.esd.wa.gov/findajob/specialprograms/veterans-services.php

Employment Resources

Reentry Myth Busters

The Reentry Myth Busters is a series of fact sheets intended to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families

Washington State Employment Re-Entry Guide

The NEW Washington State Employment Re-Entry Guide - New Directions is the culmination of the months of hard work by a team of contributors including WorkSource staff, supervisors, Department of Corrections and jail industry partners, and individuals with a conviction history. This is the first revision of the guide since 2006.

Employment and Unemployment Records Request

Completing and sending the Self-Request for Records form gets employment history and unemployment payment history from the Records Disclosure Unit of Employment Security.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), authorized by the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (P. L. 104-188), is a federal tax credit that encourages employers to hire eight targeted groups of job seekers by reducing employers’ federal income tax liability by as much as $2,400 per qualified new worker; $750, if working 120 hours or $1,200, if working 400 hours or more, per qualified summer youth. Employers can learn which new hires may qualify, find brochures, download IRS and ETA forms necessary to participate and find instructions at the U.S. Department of Labor or call 1.800.669.9271

National H.I.R.E. Network

Established by the Legal Action Center, the National Helping Individuals with Criminal Records Re-enter through Employment Network is both a national clearinghouse for information and an advocate for policy change. The goal of the National H.I.R.E. Network is to increase the number and quality of job opportunities available to people with criminal records by changing public policies, employment practices and public opinion. The National H.I.R.E. Network also provides training and technical assistance to agencies working to improve the employment prospects for people with criminal records.

Transitional Jobs

Meaningful work sets the stage for financial independence and career growth. Many individuals with barriers to work remain unemployed despite attempts to work because they have been unable to find and keep a job on their own. The National Transitional Jobs Network programs assist these individuals in gaining permanent jobs. By working in a subsidized, transitional job for three to twelve months, they earn a paycheck, learn technical skills for higher wage jobs, become eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and receive intensive mentoring and support. This transitional job is the first step toward permanent employment and economic opportunity.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Helping individuals with disabilities to participate fully in their communities and become employed by providing individualized employment services and counseling to people with disabilities.  DVR also provides technical assistance and training to employers about the employment of people with disabilities.

Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board

The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) is a Governor-appointed body representing a partnership of nine voting members from business, labor, and government. Additional non-voting members also participate. The Workforce Board advises the Governor and Legislature on workforce development policy, ensures that the state’s workforce services and programs work together, and evaluates performance.

For help with career planning, see the Workforce Board's Career Bridge web site and Where Are You Going? career guide.

Recovery Assistance

Oxford House

Oxford Houses of Washington State is a group of self-run, self-supported recovery houses that provide an opportunity for every recovering individual to learn a clean and sober way of life--forever. Oxford House, Inc. is the 501(c)(3) non-profit umbrella organization of the national network of individual Oxford Houses. Contributions and grants are used to expand the network of Oxford Houses by providing trained outreach workers to establish new houses and central service support to existing houses. 

For a Directory of Oxford Houses in Washington State updated October 2010, see http://www.oxfordhouse.us/docs/wadir.pdf

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous is an international, community-based association of recovering drug addicts with more than 33,500 weekly meetings in over 116 countries worldwide.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Legal Assistance and Status

Reinstate Your Driver's License

If your driver license is suspended due to unpaid traffic tickets, a DUI or a number of other things, it can be a challenge to navigate the court system to get it back. For the nearly 300,000 Washingtonians with a suspended license, things are about to get a little easier. The Department of Licensing has a new online service that shows people what they need to do and who they need to contact to get their license back. Users can securely enter their personal information and the system will provide a printable list of the court issues and state requirements needing to be resolved. It also provides contact information for each item. It is available at the DOL website.

Can I Clear My Criminal Record?

If you have been charged with criminal violations in the past, the record of those charges may affect your ability to get work, housing, public benefits, financial aid for education, to drive or to enjoy other rights or privileges, such as voting. This Northwest Women's Law Center publication will help you understand what rights and options you have and what procedures you must use to clear or limit access to your criminal record by others.

Criminal History/Records: When and How to Seal/Vacate Non-Violent Class B or C Felony Convictions

This Northwest Justice Project publication provides information and forms on how to vacate and seal records concerning certain non-violent Class B or C felony convictions in Washington State occurring on/after July 1, 1984.

Denial, Revocation and Restriction of Passports

See Code of Federal Regulations; Title 22: Foreign Relations; Part 51

Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal Histories Section

Check Criminal History Records or call 360.705.5100 for information about criminal record history maintained by the WSP.

Disqualifying Crimes

Washington State Department of Social & Health Services has published a list of crimes and negative actions that deny employment that provides unsupervised access to vulnerable adults, juveniles and children.  

For more detailed information on the DSHS Background Check Unit and to review the published lists, see http://dshs.wa.gov/bccu/bccucrimeslist.shtml

Washington Law Help

Washington Law Help assists low-Income people in Washington find solutions to civil legal problems.

Interest Waiver Guide: A Guide on How to Obtain a Court Order Waiving or Reducing Interest on Legal Financial Obligations.

Sealing Juvenile Court Records – A guide on how to seal a juvenile court record.

Voting Rights Restoration pamphlet

ACLU of Washington’s new Criminal Records Project

The Criminal Records Project provides direct legal services to people facing barriers to housing and employment based on criminal records. This project assists people with vacating and sealing convictions under Washington law, and counsels individuals about whether denials of housing and employment comply with existing state and federal law. This site contains basic information on criminal records issues and the ACLU’s services as well as community education guides, including the ACLU guides to Criminal Records and Employment and Getting and Reading Criminal History Reports. Please use the online intake form for individuals seeking ACLU assistance.

U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s New Criminal Record Guidance

In bi-partisan fashion (by a vote of 4 to 1), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a revised guidance on the application of Title VII to criminal records on April 25, 2012. The new guidance, which supersedes the original version issued in 1987, can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm. See the fact sheet at the National Employment Law Project.

Washington State Courts

This site includes a statewide directory of courts, including addresses and telephone numbers, court rules, forms and information about assistance with legal research from the state law library. The Administrative Office of the Courts may also be reached at 360.357.2129. Please note that this office can not offer any legal advice.

Criminal History Records
Court Records
A Citizen’s Guide to Washington Courts
Governing Statutes and Regulations
Obtaining a Certificate of Discharge to restore civil rights
Download the Criminal History and Criminal Records brochure in PDF format
For More Information

Washington State Bar Association

Check the Washington Bar Association website or call 206.727.8200 for information on how to find an attorney in your area (or contact your local county bar association).

National Institute of Corrections

The National Institute of Corrections provides federal, state, and local corrections agencies with training, technical assistance, information services, and policy/program development assistance.

The Correctional Education Association

The Correctional Education Association (CEA), founded in 1945, is a non-profit, professional association serving educators and administrators who provide services to students in correctional settings. The CEA is the largest affiliate of the American Correctional Association.

U.S. Department of Justice

The Bureau of Justice Statistics provides key national and state facts and statistics. To learn more please click on http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov.

Transition to Re-Entry

Justice Center – The Council of State Governments – Criminal Justice/Mental Health - Consensus Project

Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses: The Essential Elements of Specialized Probation Initiatives

The National Reentry Resource Center

Charting the safe and successful return of prisoners to the community

The Joyce Foundation’s - Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration Project

The Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration (TJRD) project was conducted to help fill the gap of reentry knowledge by testing innovative employment programs for former prisoners in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and St. Paul using a rigorous, random-assignment research design. In each city, one employment program is built around transitional jobs (TJ)—temporary, subsidized jobs that provide participants with a source of legitimate income, support services, and work experience as they return to the community. Download: Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration: Joyce Policy Brief

The Transition from Prison to Community Initiative

The Transition from Prison to Community Initiative identifies and promotes adoption of evidence-based best practices that states should implement in the following stages of the transition process:

  • Assessing and classifying new prison inmates
  • Developing and implementing transition plans for each inmate
  • Releasing offenders from prison
  • Providing community supervision and services
  • Responding to violations of release conditions
  • Discharging successful offenders from supervision
  • Providing post-discharge support and aftercare

Office of Justice Programs

Reentry involves the use of programs targeted at promoting the effective reintegration of offenders back to communities upon release from prison and jail. Reentry programming, which often involves a comprehensive case management approach, is intended to assist offenders in acquiring the life skills needed to succeed in the community and become law-abiding citizens. Office of Justice Programs offer a variety of programs are used to assist offenders in the reentry process, including prerelease programs, drug rehabilitation and vocational training, and work programs.

Research, Policy and Advocacy

Washington State Coalition for the Homeless

The Washington State Coalition for the Homeless has taken the lead since 1984 in training, education, and advocacy with and on behalf of individuals and families who are homeless in Washington State. We are a 501-c-3 organization governed by representatives elected by their county coalitions and joined in our efforts by service providers, local, state and federal government agencies, legislators, business leaders, and individuals who are dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to shelter, a basic human need.

Reentry Policy Council

Each year, nearly 650,000 people are released from US prisons, and over 7 million are released from jails; the vast majority will be rearrested within 3 years. In its groundbreaking report, the Re-Entry Policy Council offers hundreds of consensus-based, bipartisan recommendations for reducing public spending and increasing public safety by promoting the safe and successful return of these individuals to the community.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering justice and substance abuse information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide.

Child Support and Corrections

Washington Division of Child Support

The Division of Child Support provides information for individuals to gain assistance to resolve child support issues.

Washington Department of Corrections

The Washington Department of Corrections in collaboration with its criminal justice partners, victims, citizens, and other stakeholders will enhance community safety by holding offenders accountable through the administration of criminal sanctions and effective correctional programs.

Washington State Jail Industries

Washington State Jail Industries provides statewide leadership for jails to promote and mobilize employment focused community reentry programs through partnerships with labor, business, victims, communities, social service agencies and government.



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