Moving on with a Criminal Record

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The path of life is filled with all sorts of curves along the way. Sometimes, those curves are major mistakes with legal consequences which can result in a felony charge. The US ranks as number for having most people incarcerated, with more than seven million residing in US prisons, at some stage of the criminal justice system.  The FBI regards anyone arrested on a felony charge to have a criminal record, even though the arrest may not have resulted in a conviction. That means, as per the FBI, by June 30th, 2017 there were 73.5 million people in the United States in possession of a criminal record. Considering the population is put at 294.4 million by the Census Bureau, that means the FBI classifies 29.5 percent of the adult population as having a criminal record.

legal charges

Law firms such as Keller Law Offices exist to ensure that the legal rights of those accused of committing a crime are protected, as even the charge itself without conviction can have serious ramifications on someone’s life. If convicted, these ramifications are heightened, making it difficult to move on with your life.  There are laws which restrict the civil, social, and economic rights of convicted criminals, making a reintegration into society a much harder task.

Studies suggest that the difficulty to reintegrate are a big contributing factor to reoffending. In the US, 67 percent of convicted criminals reoffend. To give that some context, Japan has only a 39 percent reoffending rate whilst in Sweden, it is only 35 percent. The point is, if you have a criminal record, even for the slightest crime, you are not alone.

Attitude is a prime mover in moving with a criminal record. Once you accept your situation and made the decision to move on and not make the same mistakes, you are faced with a number of hurdles to overcome. There is the obvious rebuilding of relationships, especially with families. It’s good to have a frank discussion on how those closest to you were affected by your criminal record. Once everything is out in the open, only then can you start to rebuild your relationships.

From a work point of view, having a criminal record makes employment harder, adding financial strain on your moving on. Companies may be reluctant to hire people with criminal records and the search for employment can be a long and disheartening experience. Setting up your own business and working for yourself can give you the financial stability you need having just taken the path to move on. Not only would starting a business yourself have financial rewards but can also help in building self-confidence again. It may just be to ‘tide you over’ or it may be the start of something big but starting your own business with criminal record could play an important part in helping to move on with a criminal record.

Having a criminal record in the US is not the end of the world and more common than you’d think. If you have one, you are not alone and many people with criminal records have moved on to better places. Get your attitude right, and consider starting a business, as employment opportunities will be limited. The self-discipline needed to start and run a business, can only help you to move on professionally and personally to a better life.

Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.

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