As background checks become more commonplace, it is increasingly more difficult to avoid the negative repercussions of a criminal record. As a result, those that have a record are finding it harder to move on with their life. Here are some common issues that felons face as a result of a criminal record:
Hiring felons can be a tricky subject for employers. Employers can be sued and held liable for negligent hiring practices if they don’t do their due diligence in examining employee backgrounds. On the other hand, using applicant criminal history information inappropriately can also leave employers vulnerable to legal action if their policies result in discrimination. Additionally, the job market has become increasingly competitive. Ex-felons are oftentimes up against applicants with similar qualifications, and a clear criminal record. In such cases, most employers will decide to hire the non-felon candidate by default.
Many landlords refuse to rent to former convicts, as they are not a protected class of citizens. Therefore, felons are often stuck trying to find temporary housing with friends and family members—some of whom may be part of the bad influences that helped land them in trouble in the first place.
Lack of stable housing compounds the issues felons face in finding work. Studies show that a lack of housing options sustains a negative cycle of increased homelessness, which also leads to more incarceration.
Many felons find it hard to further pursue their education. One survey of 1,300 inmates found that approximately 30 percent of convicted felons did not have a high school diploma or GED, compared to the 14 percent of all U.S. adults with no diploma or GED.* In an economic environment where more employers are seeking candidates with a college education, that achievement gap can be disastrous.
Funding for prison education programs is spotty and inconsistent from state to state, which can limit opportunities for the incarcerated to catch up. Additionally, inmates are no longer eligible for Pell grants, and certain drug convictions may impact eligibility for financial aid, depending on the circumstances.
Another often overlooked disadvantage of life after prison is not having the right to vote. While this isn’t quite as severe as not having a house or a job, voting is still an important part of being an engaged citizen. Currently, 35 states prevent persons on parole from voting—and 12 other states have laws that either permanently ban felons from voting or require significant waiting periods before being eligible to vote again.
Help break the cycle of the negative repercussions faced by your criminal record. Don’t wait any longer to act. See whether you qualify to expunge or seal your criminal record. The legal process can be difficult to navigate alone. It is recommended that you hire a team of experienced professionals. Take our free, confidential eligibility test to see if you qualify.