Today, approximately one-third of adults in the United States have a criminal record of some kind; that’s in line with the number of adults who have college diplomas. However, with arrest and conviction numbers having been on the rise for decades, it only makes sense that more adults than ever are facing the implications and repercussions of criminal history. This applies not just to adults who have been convicted and incarcerated for serious felonies, but also to misdemeanor convictions and even arrests that never led to a conviction at all.
Unfortunately, when an adult has an arrest record, it’s not just the individual who faces the consequences. Family members—especially children—end up taking on the burden that comes along with a criminal history.
Obstacles Presented By a Criminal History
In the United States, about one-half of children have at least one parent with a criminal record. And considering the fact that two-thirds of colleges, nearly 90% of employers, and about 80% of landlords run criminal background checks on applicants, even a minor criminal history can cause serious and life-long consequences for families.
One of the biggest impacts a criminal history can have on a family is in regard to household income. Because most employers run criminal background screenings and require applicants to disclose even arrest records with no conviction, it is significantly more difficult to obtain gainful employment with a criminal record of any type. As a result, these families have a harder time making ends meet, let alone saving for the future (retirement, college fund, etc.). These families also have a harder time paying bills, keeping utilities running, and providing food for their families.
A criminal history can also make it more difficult for families to find housing, as low-income families may not be able to qualify for public housing benefits with certain criminal histories. Without a stable home, the children in these situations face many hardships throughout life that make them less likely to finish high school. This only perpetuates the seemingly endless cycle of hardship stemming from criminal backgrounds.
And of course, even for parents with criminal records who do want to better their lives by earning a degree and achieving a better living for their families, getting into college (or any institution of higher education) can be a challenge—especially when you take into consideration that most colleges require criminal background checks on applicants and can deny acceptance based on the findings. This remains true even of minor convictions, such as misdemeanor offenses.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, one small mistake made by an adult can lead to life-long repercussions and struggles not just for them, but for children, spouses, and family members as well. For this reason, there have been many efforts by lawmakers in recent years to ban questions about criminal history on employment screenings, housing checks, and college applications. Unfortunately, these efforts have not picked up enough steam to be written into law, and there is no telling how much longer these practices will continue to take place.
If you have recently been arrested and charged with a crime in the Louisville, Lexington, or other areas, having an experienced defense attorney on your side is the best step you can take to protect your future and that of your family. For more information on what our legal team can do for you, contact our team at Dan Carman & Attorneys, PLLC at 859-685-1055.