Can a Convicted Felon Pursue a Career in Criminal Justice?

The criminal justice field includes a number of different careers, but following the criminal justice career path for a convicted felon isn’t always smooth. Most employers today conduct background checks, which include a check of an applicant’s criminal history. The felony that appears on your record may turn off employers and make them reject you for that job. Finding a job in the criminal justice field with a felony on your record will likely take more time and¬†extra work on your part.

What is a Felony?

According to Avvo, there are two different types of felonies: crimes against people and crimes against property. Crimes against people include assault, domestic violence, murder, manslaughter, rape and kidnapping. Theft, arson and burglary are all examples of felonies against property. A felony charge often comes with jail time or a prison term, and the charge may also include probation, a large fine or community service. Some felonies prevent you from obtaining certain types of licenses, from purchasing, owning or carrying firearms or from working with children.

How Long Does a Felony Last?

The criminal justice career path for a convicted felon comes with few options, so you might want to know how long that the charge will remain on your record. If you do nothing, the charge will remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life. Depending on where you live, you can petition the court to expunge your record after a period of seven to 10 years. When the court agrees to your request, it will wipe that charge from your record. You can only petition the court after any restrictions on that charge disappear. For example, some offenders must register with the state for a period of 15 years, but those who keep a clean record for 10 years can request that the court expunge the charge and stop registering with the state.

Types of Criminal Justice Jobs

Law enforcement is the most common type of job in criminal justice, but you’ll also find positions working as a college professor, a criminology expert, a private detective, bond enforcement agent, paralegal or even computer expert. The amount of money that you earn depends on where you live, how much experience you have and the level of education you possess.

Finding Jobs as a Felon

Choosing a criminal justice career path as a convicted felon is extremely difficult. Most police departments and law enforcement groups will not hire anyone convicted of a felony, and many employers will now run your criminal history before offering you a job. Even working as a college professor with a felony on your record is difficult. It’s best that you explain what your employer will find upfront and before the company does a background check. You’ll also want to explain any circumstances surrounding your conviction. For example, an assault conviction might appear because of a fight you had defending your spouse or child.

Convicted felons face a number of problems. They have a harder time finding a place to live, obtaining a home loan, adopting a child and even finding a job. Once you finish your college degree, you’ll find that the criminal justice career path for a convicted felon is hard and that the best way to find a good job is to sit down with your employer and explain your record in advance.