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.

Student: Sale and Possession of Controlled Substances

football story 2

When I got to college, I was one of the few freshmen who both smoked and knew someone who sold weed. I started buying for friends, and then friends of friends.  A few months in, I was buying ounces at a time, and then expanded to acid.

I’m not really in the demographic associated with dealers, and my customers were people I wouldn’t have interacted with normally: footballers and frat bros. I guess that’s a lot of why I did it—that and breaking whatever stereotypes.

By junior year, it became less about having weed conveniently for my friends and myself, and more about keeping up with what people expected of me.

After the last batch, I began redirecting my customers to another person. I miss them more than I thought I would.