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.
Engineer: Open Bottle, Petty Theft
I think I stole books from a library when I was young, just into my teenage years. Our school library had some stupid policy where we could only check out one book at a time, and only two a month. I thought it was outrageous, so I’d toss them out the window, stuff them down my pants. I found ways to get more books out of that place. They were awesome texts with hilarious stories and beautiful cartoons, how could I not take them? I think most were bound antique magazines, prints from the early 1900s. They were just too tempting for a boy.
We didn’t have many books at home, so once they started piling up my mom noticed. I made up some excuse and then stopped stealing before she became more inquisitive.
As for the open bottle, I don’t remember specifically any one time, but it was college and I lived in Uptown, after all. Ah! That reminds me: public urination. I was living in Uptown but had been drinking in downtown and I couldn’t find a bathroom. It was New Years, maybe. I remember bars were far too crowded and they stopped letting people in. So I said Screw it! I’m peeing on the side of your bar. Ha!
“I would never hire a thief. You never know what’s going to catch their eye next.”
Hiring manager, St Paul
To find out why—and how—this manager should reevaluate his hiring practices, click here.