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.

Financial Compliance Manager: Aided and Abetted Insurance Fraud

Financial compliance Arson story

I asked my husband, what should I talk about? I’ve done the normal things: drugs (used, participated in the sale of), theft, and so on. My husband said, you musta forgotten about that arson and insurance fraud. Oh, yeah…

So this was before he and I met, when I was dating someone else. This guy knew this girl who had a car she couldn’t sell. It was in rough shape. Someone told her, you know you’d be better off if you just totaled it or if someone stole it. So she asked the guy I was dating to stage a theft. This girl gave him the keys, but he pretended to break in and all that. He drove it out to the country, poured gasoline in the backseat, and lit a match.

He needed a ride back home, so I was there to give him one.

For the next few months, I watched the news incessantly. I was so terrified.

You know, if I’d been caught, I’d just be getting out. I wouldn’t have this job now. I would not have met my husband.

Everything that I have in life, it’s been since then. What if that were taken away from me? What if I never had it?