Braintree Town have signed defender Dean Wells from Blue Square Bet South outfit Staines Town.
The 26-year-old played under Iron manager Alan Devonshire at Hampton & Richmond Borough last season.
He has recently been released from prison after being jailed for his part in a brawl outside Liverpool Street Station, in London, in May 2010.
"That's in the past. We go forward and give him another chance," chairman Lee Harding told BBC Essex.
"We took the view that while we don't condone what has happened in the past, he served the sentence for the crimes he committed.
"Alan knows him, from a footballing point of view, better than anybody probably. A lesson will have been learned by Dean."
Wells goes straight into Braintree's squad for Saturday's Blue Square Bet Premier game at home to Forest Green Rovers.
The centre-back spent just over a month at Staines and will join a Braintree squad that have leaked 25 goals in their past eight games.
Braintree Town are ninth in the table in their first ever season in the top flight of non-league football.