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Career & Work 934 views Oct 04, 2018
How a Felony Affects A Person’s Life

Regardless of the reason why you’ve received it, incurring a felony charge can have a significant effect on a person’s life. From social to professional advancement, it can be difficult to get back on your feet after receiving a felony charge and serving time for it. There are a few significant obstacles to face after you’ve served your time and are ready to rejoin society.

The biggest obstacle for a felon entering normal society is their criminal record. It is difficult not to judge someone who has served time in jail or prison. Especially when you do not know what the person did, it is difficult not to immediately jump to the worst conclusion or to demonize someone. While in some cases, this is justified, it is important for employers to look into a candidate’s background check - i.e. your criminal record - before making a firm decision.

Because in many states, including PA, criminal record checks are performed, felons face a particularly hard uphill battle finding gainful employment. When a person with a criminal record has a hard time finding employment, they may turn back to crime and thus feel like a further burden on society. While it is commonly agreed that some crimes cannot be forgiven, some people simply want to begin a new path and it can be difficult to do so without gainful employment.

Employment is one obstacle, but finding shelter can be another. Many landlords would rather not have a felon on their property, and will typically deny an individual with a felony access after performing a background check. Too often, those with past criminal charges have to move into lower-income areas, and the low cost of living does not alway benefit them. As with the inability to find a job, the inability to find safe housing can have a deeply negative effect.

Passing a background check to get a proper job to turn your life around can be difficult, but there are also other freedoms curbed because of the presence of a felony charge on a person’s record. While some freedoms are understood, such as those with violent crimes and a felon’s inability to legally own a firearm, they also lose the ability to travel abroad, participate in jury service, some social or housing benefits, and even losing the right to vote. It is important for those with past felony charges on their criminals records to know their rights to understand when they are being illegally discriminated against.