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.

Retailer: Criminal Damage to Property, Terroristic Threats

| Retailer’s living room |


I was working at a retail shop in the mall and saving up for my summer wedding. My boss asked me to work overtime and my fiancé and I were happy to have the extra cash.

With double shifts, the days were long. I cut out early one day in need of a break. My fiancée was not expecting me, and I knew as soon as I opened the door and saw my bitch-ass neighbor’s shoes that the bum was cheating on me.

I could hear them going at it in the other room, so I slipped into kitchen and grabbed one of those stupid Cutco knives (the ones he spent way too much money on) and headed out to our driveway.

One stab per tire and he was on flats.

At this point I was no longer trying to be quiet. I wanted them to come out. But I guess they were too busy going at it to hear me. So I crossed the yard to her house and slashed her tires, too. Still nothing. I started calling and texting telling them to come outside so I could kick their asses, but got no response.

After a while, my friend picked me up and calmed me down. It took me longer than it should have to forget about him, but even a minute would have been too long for that bum.

In 2009, Jeanine came home to find her husband in bed with a neighborhood friend. She packed up her three-year old daughter and left, deliberately keying his new truck on the way out. Now with felony damage to property on her record, Jeanine’s been denied housing at every turn: she and her little girl are currently living in a shelter, unable to find a place that will rent to a ‘felon.’