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DEAR ABBY: I have been an avid reader of your column for years. I am an African-American male, 30 years of age, who has been incarcerated for almost seven years now, convicted of second degree homicide and sentenced to serve 30 years.

While in the penitentiary, I completed all academic requirements for a B.S. degree in applied psychology.

I very much wish to become a registered nurse. Prior to my incarceration, I had completed two years of nursing school at a local four-year college. I intend to seek another undergraduate degree in nursing upon my release. The question is this: Will my being a convicted felon preclude me from pursuing a career in nursing?

I really do want to help people, Abby. Regretfully, it took this episode in my life to enable me to mature and come to an appreciation of life. I feel that nursing would also assist in my psychological healing as well. I am remorseful and I do regret my past actions. -- H.B.

DEAR H.B.: Each state has its own requirements regarding licensing to practice nursing. Upon your release, write to the State Board of Nursing located in the capital city of the state in which you would like to practice. And if you enclose a stamped envelope, addressed to yourself, your chances for a response may be increased.

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