There are many costs that people facing criminal charges expect to pay. These include court costs and fees, bail, and lost wages. There is also the investment in a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer, which could be the most important investment of a defendant’s life. That is because of the hidden costs of a criminal record. Here are five of those uninvited surprises
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- Lifetime earnings drop. A 2003 University of Georgia study found that people convicted of crimes in their youth earn 12-14% or less than average. Given that someone with a high school diploma can expect to earn nearly $1 million by retirement, this converts to more than $100,000 in lower earnings.
- The phone won’t ring. Only 5% of African-Americans with a criminal record receive a callback after a job interview. That is three times worse than the percentage of African-Americans without a criminal record that can expect a callback after going for an interview.
- Convicts face many health risks. While prison is meant to rehabilitate criminals, many prisoners get released with a number of health problems. For healthy people sent to prison, they are exposed to a population with an HIV rate five times the national average. Throw in mental health risks along with the risk of violence in prison, and a conviction can lead to a life of health problems and their related costs.
- Released prisoners go homeless. Up to half of all prisoners are homeless within a year of their parole, depending upon location. This starts a revolving door process that many people with a criminal record can never escape. Homeless people are much more likely to be incarcerated again, and even more likely to stay homeless if released again.
- The wrong kind of legacy is passed to the next generation. Children of prisoners are five times more likely to go to prison as adults. A criminal record causes a lifetime of hidden costs to not only the convicted person but also to their family.
These are only a few of the hidden costs to having a criminal record. Even as some reforms begin to reduce barriers to re-integration into society for paroled prisoners, there will always be extra challenges associated with having a criminal record. Having a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer fight that conviction from the start may protect against a lifetime of lost wages and opportunities.