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

confess theft from kids

I work at a school. I’m not a teacher, but I interact with students a lot. I’ve worked there for a long time and built up a lot of trust.

And I’ve started stealing things. It’s money sometimes, it’s office supplies sometimes (but who doesn’t do that), and sometimes it’s the things in closets that I find. And it’s really, really easy.

My boss is so chaotic. There’s no record of cash transactions, and there’s a remarkable number of them between students paying fees and whatnot. It’s easy to just take a dollar or two here.

I justify it because I’m underpaid and the kids are really privileged. But I feel bad about it—not the act, not the stealing, but the betrayal of trust between me and my coworkers.