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Expunging Criminal Records Can Save Thousands

Cost of Having a Criminal Record

A recent Stanford University  study did a cost benefit analysis of erasing the criminal records of inmates and how it affects their lives after release. The study primarily looked into the costs to the State of California and the inmates in getting their criminal records expunged. This is the process of erasing criminal records from the public record and from those pesky background checks that prospective employers run on new hires.

The study found that the costs associated with the individual inmate and the state offset the costs by about $6,000 dollars on average and in just one year! This is only the benefits that were able to be calculated, it doesn't cover certain advantages that we can't attach a dollar value.

Criminal Records & Employment Discrimination

The most serious issue here is how employers perceive an applicant with a criminal record. The hardest issue to work around is the discrimination an individual is subjugated to because of their past. For example, according to this study, those with a criminal history in New York City were 50 percent less likely to be called back for a job interview in another study.

Certain advocacy groups have tried to ban employers from having a criminal history section on their applications so that a potential applicant doesn't have to disclose, but that still doesn't solve the problem of it showing up on a criminal background check.

Recently Alabama residents who have been charged with a misdemeanor or a non-violent felony, but never convicted may be able to erase this record from public view. The state Senate approved the measure and it is under review and awaiting signature from the governor's office. Other states are moving forward with similar measures, but it still remains a troublesome task for those with criminal records in being able to expunge and make that record from their past disappear.

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