True Second Chances Rare for Convicted Felons

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Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles rushes against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 19, 2010
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President Obama stirred some controversy recently by calling Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to commend him for giving Michael Vick a second chance, after Vick was released from prison for his involvement in an illegal dogfighting ring. Some were far on the other side of the Vick story, like pundit Tucker Carlson, who suggested that Vick should have been executed for his crimes. Outside of the public debate, many who work with formerly incarcerated Americans say that Vick is very lucky — and that second chances are rare.

On Wednesday, we spoke with James Walker, of Cleveland, who served 30 years in prison for murder before being released in 2007. Walker has had trouble finding work since getting out of prison, despite the fact that he earned a bachelor's degree while incarcerated. He says, "Most often I never get to an interview, because the application, you know, asks the question [about felonies.] I am, more often than not, excluded from consideration."

Do former inmates deserve second chances? And which inmates are most likely to get them? We talk with Mansfield Frazier, co-publisher of Re-Entry Advocate Magazine.