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How Can a Criminal Record Haunt You for the Rest of Your Life?

Take our quiz to find out.

If you wind up in prison in the U.S., your punishment doesn’t necessarily end the day you serve out your sentence and go home. Former inmates reentering society often get ensnared in a web of laws that dictate their post-prison lives, from where they can live, to what they can do for a living, to whether they can ever vote. In 2014, when the American Bar Association conducted a national survey of “collateral consequences” — legal restrictions imposed on people with criminal records — they found 44,500 different state and federal statutes.

In recent years, lawmakers and advocates have attempted to roll back some of these policies. Advocates in states including Massachusetts, Texas and Idaho have waged legal challenges against overzealous laws dictating where people on the sex-offender registry can live. And an increasing number of state legislatures have voted to allow former drug offenders to get food stamps. But thousands of restrictions, many of which limit job opportunities and access to social services, still remain.

Below, test your knowledge of the ways in which a criminal record can follow people long after they’ve been set free.

Before you go...

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