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Following decades of overcriminalization, between 70 million and 100 million Americans—1 in 3—now have some type of criminal record.

A criminal record can impact every aspect of life as nearly 9 in 10 employers, 4 in 5 landlords, and 3 in 5 colleges use background checks to screen applicants.​


People with criminal records are half as likely as other job seekers to get a callback from an employer.​

Nearly half of all U.S. children now have at least one parent with a criminal record.​


The barriers associated with parents’ records have negative consequences for children’s cognitive development, school performance, and employment outcomes in adulthood.​

People with criminal records who have remained crime-free for 4 to 7 years are no more likely than the general population to commit a new crime.​


Recidivism declines steadily the longer an individual remains conviction-free. And, if an individual is going to re-offend, they typically do so within 3 years.​

In a petition-based record-clearance system, just 6.5% of eligible people successfully get their records cleared.​


On average, the wages of people who receive expungements increase by more than 20 percent within the first year.​

Excluding people with criminal records out of the labor market the U.S. economy loses an estimated $87 billion per year in lost GDP.



Alfred Blumstein, Kiminori Nakamura, “Extension of Current Estimates of Redemption Times: Robustness Testing, Out-of-State Arrests, and Racial Differences,” Nov. 2012.


See Blumstein and Nakamura, supra n.7 at 11.

“Michigan Set-Asides Found to Increase Wages and Reduce Recidivism,” Collateral Consequences Resource Center. Federal Sentencing Reporter (2018) 30 (4-5): 361–362.

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