What is life like after a criminal conviction?
And while many of them vary by jurisdiction, it’s undeniable that the consequences of a criminal conviction extend far beyond a fine or a prison sentence.
Here are three of the biggest challenges people with a conviction may face.
A criminal record can be a barrier to securing both public and private housing. While the Federal Housing and Urban Development agency does encourage housing agencies to approve applications from those with a record, it’s up to the discretion of individual landlords and property managers. When faced with the choice, many choose to deny applications — and may even evict residents if they’re convicted of a crime.
Jobs that require professional licensure — such as real estate agents, cosmetologists and dental hygienists — can all be denied to those with a conviction. Employment opportunities vary by state and by offense, but even without an outright restriction, many people with convictions struggle to secure a decent job.
Eleven states have a lifetime voting ban in place for those with certain criminal convictions barring court action or an official pardon. And only two states allow those with convictions to vote while they are behind bars.
It’s important to know your rights. The “Ban the Box” movement, for example, makes it illegal for potential employers to ask about criminal convictions in 35 states and more than 150 cities.