Minnesota Criminal Record Facts
Approximately 155,000 Minnesotan’s are currently under some type of correctional supervision, but in 2006 alone there were approximately 15,000 felony convictions in Minnesota (up from about 5,000 in 1982). Add to this the people convicted or charged long ago, and lower-level offenses, and the number of Minnesotans with a criminal record could easily reach one million.
Publicly available records are created at arrest and charging, even if it is determined that the wrong person was arrested or charged. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension releases nonconviction records and records of conviction to employers and landlords for the lifetime of the record subject with the subject’s consent. Some types of juvenile records are publicly available and available for licensed employment.
In order to have dismissed charges sealed, a person needs to go through a complicated, lengthy, and costly expungement process. Minnesota court cases have made it difficult to know if a judge can ever seal all records of conviction and some dismissed cases.
Some states have a “Certificate of Rehabilitation” process that provides concrete ways to help people move beyond their record and gain employment and housing. Minnesota has no such process.
In some states employers are prohibited from discriminating against someone based solely on a nonconviction record or certain types (and age) of convictions. Minnesota has no such protections.
Employer surveys have shown that people with criminal records, even lower level offenses, are the least likely to be hired. Research findings indicate that employers are somewhat more likely to hire someone with a criminal record after they have met the person face to face, rather than judging them solely based on a criminal record question on an application.
Because people of color are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, criminal record barriers to employment further increase racial discrimination.
The legislature has created hundreds of statutory bars to employment for people with criminal records. Young people entering higher education programs are often unaware of these barriers before they invest time and money into preparing for an occupation that may be closed to them.
For more information or questions contact:
Mark Haase, Council on Crime and Justice, 612-353-3020 or firstname.lastname@example.org