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.

Professor: Sale of Controlled Substances

confess drug dealing

When I was in college, I was working in a café. My sophomore year I had to get knee surgery, which meant I had to stop working for a while. My parents were still giving me money, so I wasn’t lacking, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to make money elsewhere.

One of my buddies from high school, actually someone I played soccer with as a kid, was at the same university. He had become the local drug kingpin in a lot of ways. After my surgery, he fronted me a couple ounces of marijuana and I then just sat on my couch and sold eighths while I recuperated.

That lasted throughout recovery and I continued for a little while afterwards and then just stopped.

Fortunately, I was never arrested. I finished college, went to graduate school, and am now a professor.