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The astonishing effects of a criminal record

The astonishing effects of a criminal record

Presently, there are 70 million people in the U.S. with a criminal record, many that list offenses that are low-level and nonviolent.

But sadly, the lasting effects of even a simple misdemeanor can have a dramatic impact to individuals years after they committed the infraction and paid their debt to society.

Here are just a couple.

Employment prospects

Many employers conduct criminal background checks on potential job applicants. And, despite stellar qualifications or skills, employers will refuse to hire-or even interview-an employee with a criminal record, even for an offense committed decades ago.

An experiment was conducted in New York City a few years ago demonstrating the real life pressures individuals with criminal records truly have in today's job market. Random subjects, both Caucasian and African American, were sent out to apply for entry level positions throughout the city. Each had the same resume but some had criminal backgrounds. The outcome clearly revealed that those without any past brush with the law obtained more interviews or jobs.

Loss of earning opportunity

For those who are able to get past the criminal background barrier, data shows that there are detriments to their economic earnings.

A 2010 study conducted by the PEW Research Center reveals that individuals who entered the job market after having been previously incarcerated earned roughly $179,000 less in peak earning years than if they never served time at all.

This was true even after age, education and number of years worked was taken into account.

As such, "incarceration's effect on economic outcomes has much more to do with having been convicted and imprisoned than it does with the work experienced lost while imprisoned," the PEW study reports.

So what's the solution?

Many states, like California, offer the ability for past offenders to seal or expunge their past criminal records for certain offenses. Given the rising incarceration rate, the cost and detriment to society, some states are even expanding this eligibility to include additional offenses.

Those interested in learning more about the expungement process and eligibility requirements, are encouraged to speak with a criminal defense lawyer who can offer greater guidance. Given such potential negative effects, simply making the inquiry is worth it.

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Fisher Law Office

1322 Morro Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-4028

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