People with Criminal Histories


  • More than 630,000 people are released from state and federal prisons every year, a population equal to that of Baltimore or Boston, and hundreds of thousands more leave local jails.
  • More and more employers are conducting criminal background checks on job applicants, which can make it much more difficult for the millions of Americans with criminal records to find employment and become productive, law-abiding members of society.
  • Many of the 600,000+ individuals who return from prisons every year and the millions of other Americans with a criminal record find themselves unable to fully integrate back into their communities, contribute to their families and local economy and resume life as productive members of society.
  • In the past 20 years, the federal government and many states have dramatically increased the number, range, and severity of civil penalties for those with criminal convictions – and, in some cases, even applied them to people never convicted of a crime. Congress and state legislatures created new restrictions on eligibility for food stamps, public assistance, public housing, student loans, and drivers’ licenses, while further expanding bars to employment, parenting, and voting.




This section adapted from the following:

Legal Action Center (2004). After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry. Retrieved on August 13, 2013 from:

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