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.

Drunk driving, Theft, Tresspassing

1-Your story 1-001

The person picture above did not submit the story below. She voluntarily posed for the photo to stand in solidarity with those living with the stigma of a criminal record, and those participating in the project. This story was submitted by an online participant, via the Your Story tab.

I am a middle aged white woman, born and raised in a town of 800 people. I have degrees in social work and pastoral ministry. I have done church and human service work all of my adult life. But I am a criminal.

I have driven drunk numerous times and either never been caught or have been sent home because the town cop knew my parents. I have stolen many things, starting with money from a ballpark concession stand I worked at in the summer. I have done illegal drugs, trespassed, driven without a proper license, and provided beer to minors.