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.

Theft

Your Story 3

The person picture above did not submit the story below. He voluntarily posed for the photo to stand in solidarity with those living with the stigma of a criminal record, and those participating in the project. This story was submitted by an online participant, via the Your Story tab.

I used to steal things, just because it was so easy. I’d tell people, “If you act like you’re supposed to be doing it, no one stops you.” I would take big things, like chairs, out of bars. Only one person ever questioned me – I just told him “They told me to take it out back.”

Most of the time I wouldn’t keep them, I would just do it to win a bar bet. Sometimes I’d leave the items in the parking lot, sometimes I’d bring them back. 

I won the bet every time, though.