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, Cruelty to Animals

confess theft and CTA

I have two.

Since I was in high school I’ve been stealing books from Barnes & Noble. If I’m having a shitty day, I just go to Barnes & Noble and take a book. It doesn’t have to be a book I’m all that interested in. It has something to do with corporate giants and how small I feel, I think.

The other one was when I was much younger. My mom had put a bird feeder too close to the house and we got a pretty bad mice infestation. My dad bought all of these humane traps (he’s a veterinarian) to deal with it.

One day, my sister and I got a mouse out of the trap and dumped it into a bucket of water. It swam for about a half an hour and then it just gave up. My sister and I watched the whole ordeal.

That’s always weirdly haunted me.