Ban the Box is a movement to remove the question “have you ever been convicted of a felony” from applications for jobs, housing, public assistance and more. It has become a movement because of how negatively a conviction affects a life. The fact is that 60% of felons who have served the time for their crime continue to be unemployable because of their conviction status. It’s an unfair system before and after conviction. The best way to avoid becoming an unemployed statistic is to avoid conviction in the first place. If you are a person of color the odds are stacked against you even further. Here are some facts to know and ways to respond if you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense.
Your Arrest Is Likely Systemic
According to a report to the United Nations, one in three African-Americans and one in six Latinos born in 2001 or later will go to prison at least once in his lifetime, compared to one in seventeen white males. The rights of law enforcement tend to trump the rights of minorities. The best thing you can do for yourself if you have been arrested on a criminal charge is to find a good criminal defense attorney. Click URL here to find out more. A good criminal attorney can take your case and understand the oppression you have faced as well as the system which has created that oppression. He can place your case within a larger system of discrimination, fighting for your freedom and the rights of all people.
You Have the Right to a Fair Trial
A public defender will be assigned to your case if you cannot afford a private criminal attorney. The problem with a public defender is, again, the system. The same system which arrests people of color at a higher rate, also hires fewer public defenders and pays them less than other attorneys. Meaning, at best you get an eager attorney with too many cases to focus on yours, or you get an attorney whose skills offer few other options for work. A private attorney means you are less likely to go to prison at all. In a worst-case scenario, if you are convicted, you are likely to serve at least three fewer years. While it costs more money, considering your life is in the balance, the services of a defense attorney can save years of your life or even your life itself.
The fact is that the public defense system needs to be overhauled. New findings by Columbia Law indicate that electing chief public defenders increased their pay, experience and the public view of the role. That, however, is not a hopeful future on which you can allow your future to balance. They say that a man who defends himself in court has a fool for a client. Don’t be that fool and don’t roll the dice on your future. The odds are stacked against many people from the day they are born. A good attorney can turn those odds back in your favor.