1 in 3 Americans have some sort of criminal record, and nearly half of the children in the U.S. have a parent with a criminal record. Barriers to employment opportunities, housing, and education can be tough enough, the challenge to overcome these barriers as a parent can feel even more urgent.
We’ve found that helping parents expunge their records can help them move past these hurdles and open up opportunities to build a better future for themselves and their children.
5 Ways Expungement Benefits Parents & Families:
1. Increased opportunities for housing and economic stability.
9 out of 10 employers and 4 out of 5 landlords ask about criminal records, which makes it difficult for people to obtain good jobs and safe housing. Expungement can help increase access to better paying jobs and housing opportunities. When a record is expunged, a person no longer has to “check the box.” Because of this, people without records are 63% more likely to get a job interview and experience a more than 20% increase in their wages just one year after record clearance.
2. Ability to be more involved in your child’s education and volunteer with their school activities.
Research shows that children whose families are engaged in their education are more likely to earn higher grades and score higher on tests; graduate from high school and college; develop self-confidence and motivation in the classroom; and have better social skills and classroom behavior.
But many schools have policies around criminal records that might limit parents’ involvement in school activities. While these policies are designed to protect kids, they often prevent parents with any type of criminal record from being involved with their child’s education (not just those records that create a risk to childrens’ safety). This can prevent people with old and minor criminal records from volunteering in the classroom or being a chaperone on field trips. Clearing your record this summer could help you participate in these activities next fall.
3. Expungement opens up opportunities for adoption.
Nearly all states require state and federal background checks in order to be considered for adopting or fostering a child. Even an old or minor criminal record can make the adoption process stressful and stand in the way of good people becoming loving parents to kids in need. Expunging your record could help.
4. Improved health and family relationships.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma around having a criminal record. It’s a hard thing to bring up, which can prevent people from entering relationships or having successful ones. It may affect the way others see you and how you see yourself. Clearing a criminal record can help people strengthen their relationships, develop more self-confidence, relieve stress, and provide needed emotional and mental relief. At the end of the process, many of our clients tell us that clearing their record feels like finally achieving “freedom.”
5. Expungement can create a better economic future not just for you, but for your child’s future.
Research shows that having a criminal record can affect not only your income, but the income and future earning opportunities of your kids. Many people with criminal records experience struggle for stability, and that hardship can extend across generations. Boosting a family’s annual income by just $3,000 leads to an average increase of 17% in their child’s annual earnings in the future.
Learn More About Rasa
We are on a mission to help make the process of clearing a criminal record simple and affordable for everyone.
Meet our team of expungement experts
Center for American Progress