Facing a criminal conviction at any age has the potential to severely impact your future. But for young adults and youth, a criminal conviction can keep you from even getting started in your adult life.
In what ways do criminal convictions change and alter the potential paths of young adults? And what can you do to mitigate these issues?
Overrepresentation of young adults
The Center for American Progress discusses the potential impact of criminal conviction on young adults. They state that youth in America end up overrepresented in the current system. The 18-35 age group represents about 30 percent of the overall population. However, they represent 60 percent of adult arrests and 42 percent of prison admissions in the country.
The impact of conviction or jail time
Even after exoneration or completing your sentence, the impact of this conviction can linger for years to come. Many people with criminal records will struggle to find opportunities when it comes to work and education. This can keep you from getting a better job and advancing further in life. Many young adults even fall into a pattern of crimes of necessity because they cannot get on track to find “honest work” after their time in jail.
Formerly incarcerated people are also 8 times less likely to finish college and twice as likely to have no high school credentials. This further gatekeeps individuals from the workforce. On top of that, criminal records can even prevent you from getting accepted when applying for housing.
Many professionals and organizations are working on finding ways to mitigate these damages. In the meantime, it helps individuals to have legal help while going through their trial.