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Understanding the collateral consequences of a felony conviction

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Missouri residents with felonies face collateral consequences beyond the direct penalties that come from the criminal justice system. These collateral consequences impact the lives of people long after they complete their sentences.

Understanding the extent of these consequences helps policymakers, advocates and communities address the challenges faced by those with felony convictions. It also helps promote successful reintegration into society.

Employment barriers and economic struggles

A notable collateral consequence of a felony conviction is the barrier to employment opportunities. Many employers conduct background checks as part of their hiring process. Felony convictions can result in automatic disqualification or prejudice against job applicants. As a result, those with felonies may struggle to secure stable employment. This, in turn, can lead to financial instability and an increased likelihood of recidivism.

Housing restrictions and instability

Felony offenders often face restrictions and discrimination in housing. Landlords may refuse to rent to individuals with felony records. This makes it difficult for them to find safe and stable housing. This lack of housing stability exacerbates the cycle of poverty. It can also contribute to homelessness among those released from jail or prison and their families.

Loss of civil rights and social stigma

Beyond economic struggles, felony convictions result in the loss of various civil rights. This includes the right to vote. This disenfranchisement undermines democratic principles. It also perpetuates social stigma and marginalization. Those with felonies may face ostracization from society. Many people with felony convictions also struggle to reintegrate into their communities.

Felony convictions have far-reaching implications for individuals, families and communities. Addressing these consequences requires a multifaceted approach that includes policy reform and advocacy for fair hiring practices and housing policies.