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.

Fraud Investigator: Burglary


We were 14, maybe 13, and had just finished basketball practice at our Catholic school. There were at least five of us culprits, I guess you’d say. We let ourselves into the nuns’ kitchen while they were off praying and grabbed whatever we could carry. Carl snatched the bologna, Mike the ice cream, and I had a whole chicken. We had other stuff, too, and we boldly carried it all out the front door, down the street to my house.

My mother wanted to know how we had so much food so we told her we won a raffle. She thought we were good kids, from good families, so we must be telling the truth. She congratulated us and then made a big feast with all of the loot to celebrate our luck.

I don’t feel bad about stealing from God, but I do feel remorse for doing something wrong and getting away with it. I don’t ever want to see my own kids do anything like that. I worked as a fraud investigator for over 10 years. I think, Who would have trusted a thief with personal records?

When you’re 14, you’re not thinking of the consequences. We just wanted to have fun and get away with it. And we did.

Look at where we’re at now. Carl is a cop, Mike’s an engineer, Joey manages a textile company, and Mark runs his own business. If we would have been caught, who knows?