Before, During, And After Incarceration
The challenges facing incarcerated populations are enormous. This is a serious problem, considering that a huge percentage of the Americans have been arrested at least once by the age of 23. Particularly concerning is the fact that roughly 80 percent of arrests are for non-violent crimes, ranging from property crimes to drug offenses. Further exacerbating the issue is the disproportionate number of arrests involving people of color. If you are facing possible incarceration, the many collateral consequences of a conviction can impact your future in unexpected ways. Having a criminal defense attorney working on your behalf can be an immense benefit.
What We Know About Incarcerated Populations
People who are behind bars often come to incarcerated life with an array of issues plaguing them long before their arrests:
- Nearly 70 percent have substance dependence/abuse issues;
- Six in ten lack a high school diploma;
- Nearly one-third were dealing with unemployment for at least a month prior to arrest;
- Almost one in five struggles with severe mental health issues;
- 14 percent have already suffered homelessness for a period of time in the year prior to arrest.
Conditions Behind Bars
Prison life is nothing short of a nightmare for many—that’s the conclusion of the ACLU. The difficulties cover a range of issues:
- Loneliness: missing family and loved ones;
- Missing major events: birthdays, holidays, funerals;
- Food: Poor quality and limited portions;
- Living Conditions: Overcrowded facilities, often unsanitary & understaffed;
- Privacy: None.
- Free Will: Limited decision making.
- Prison Violence: Gangs, fights, attacks.
- Medical issues: poor health care, COVID exposure;
- Lockdowns: frequent and sometimes lengthy stints spent exclusively in a cell.
Once the sentence officially ends, the consequences don’t go away. Ex-convicts continue to pay a price in many areas of life, as they face barriers across the board. While some rights in some states may be regained, others hover indefinitely.
- Public Stigma: Views on convicted individuals are generally less than favorable, impacting an individual’s ability to rebuild social connections.
- Changes in Society: After a lengthy prison sentence, convicts enter a changed world where technology, social norms, and other parts of life may be difficult to absorb.
- Underlying Issues: Many of the problems individuals had prior to incarceration stick with them throughout their sentence, and they continue to battle things like addiction, education deficits, and more following their release.
- Housing: A simple background check can exclude those with a record from accessing many housing opportunities.
- Jobs: Employers routinely indicate that they would likely not hire someone with a criminal record.
- Benefits: Convicted felons lose a number of privileges, including the right to serve on a jury, the ability to receive food stamps and other federal assistance, and the ability to live in public housing.
- Voting: In many states, convicted felons lose the right to vote.
- Firearm rights: Convicted felons often lose the right to own firearms.
Every client who works with a knowledgeable Miami criminal attorney from the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos is a priority and will receive skilled legal representation. You matter. Your future matters. Contact our office for a confidential consultation about your circumstances today.