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.

Bank teller: Theft

Bank teller's kitchen

| Bank teller’s kitchen |

It happened in college in the women’s bathroom in the student union. I was washing my hands when a woman walked in, plopped her purse on the shelf next to the mirror in front of me, and disappeared into a stall. Before the toilet even flushed, I had plucked her wallet from the bag and was out the door.

I didn’t need the money, but I wanted it. I think I bought beer, maybe peanut butter with it.

It was 80 bucks, but it didn’t last long.

She had tickets to The Clash that night, good seats, too. I dumped them in a trash bin a few blocks away. I couldn’t exactly bring them back to her or use them myself. I still feel bad about that.

I mailed her driver’s license to the address listed—somewhere in Kentucky, probably her parents’ home.

I work at a bank now. Down in Iowa, a man was fired from Wells Fargo because he stuffed a cardboard dime into a laundromat’s washer 50 years ago. And I could have lost mine for some Jif and trashed tickets to a punk rock show.

In 2012, a 68 year-old man was fired from a bank for a crime he committed nearly five decades earlier. Richard was 19 when he stuffed a cardboard cutout of a dime into a laundromat’s washing machine in 1963. He was charged with operating a coin changing machine by false means and half a century later, he lost his job because of it. In defending the termination, the bank says it’s following new and stricter Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation regulations enacted after the mortgage lending crisis.