Employment: The presence of a criminal record can more than halve the chances that a job applicant will receive a call back for a job interview.

Housing: Finding housing (public or private) is extremely difficult with a criminal record. This results in increased homelessness and split families – where the person with a record (a parent, child, or other family member) is forced to find shelter elsewhere.

Education: Despite no established link between criminal records and campus safety, records make admission into higher education – and financial assistance to support it – very difficult.

Working in licensed places and positions: State law prohibits people with certain records from working in fields or facilities with vulnerable people. Here, hundreds of crimes disqualify job applicants from seven years to life for records ranging from conviction to mere arrest.

Immigration: Criminal records can have a profound and permanent effect on one’s immigration status, results ranging from the inability to naturalize (and petition family members to live in the US) to deportation.

Voting: 70,000 Minnesotans can’t vote due to a felony conviction. This disproportionately impacts African Americans (10% disenfranchised) and Native Americans (6.5%). Meanwhile, research has shown that civic engagement can reduce recidivism.

Travel: Criminal records can prevent people from traveling outside of the United States, from crossing the Canadian border to obtaining a travel visa.

Government assistance: Criminal records, drug convictions in particular, can cause blockades to receiving government assistance for individuals and their families.

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

confess hot tub

So I was 27 and on a mandated vacation with my friend to Jamaica. We flew first class over and were excited to spend our first grown-up trip at an all-inclusive hotel. We envisioned fraternizing with some local Jamaican men or perhaps some other people enjoying vacations.

Our second night into our stay we picked up some weed from a snorkeler out in the ocean while we were swimming and went back to the hotel. We picked up a couple of guys at the local bar to smoke weed with us and go hang out in the hot tub.

Turns out they were 16. Well underage. From New York. There with their parents.

We spent the evening hanging out, smoking weed, and fraternizing with 16-year-olds.

That’s it.